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Questions over MM’s salary

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The salary of the Frances Baard municipal manager which, apparently, exceeds the prescribed guidelines, has raised questions

Mamikie Bogatsu municipal manager of the Frances Baard District Municipality. File picture

QUESTIONS are being asked regarding the salary of the Frances Baard municipal manager which, apparently, exceeds the prescribed guidelines.

No confirmation was received as to whether the district municipal manager, Mamikie Bogatsu, has complied with instructions to reimburse the municipality, which authorised her salary, and if her salary has since been re-adjusted according to the guidelines set out in the government gazette, since she was permanently appointed.

The MEC for Coghsta, Bentley Vass, informed the Frances Baard executive mayor in March that Bogatsu should be remunerated in line with the minimum total remuneration package.

The executive mayor, Buyiswa Ximba, on March 14, had indicated to Bogatsu that, in terms of a council resolution taken in January, she was instructed to make the necessary arrangements with the internal finance department to reimburse the municipality with the difference of her February salary.

Vass instructed the mayor to ensure that the “strict implementation of the remuneration” was in line with the prescribed guidelines.

“In a council meeting held on January 23, it was decided to appoint Bogatsu on an acting period for three months, starting on February 1. I can hereby confirm that, due to the fact that it is a temporary acting period, Bogatsu should be remunerated on the minimum total package, according to the category of your municipality, as promulgated in the government gazette.”

According to the government gazette of 2017, a municipal manager in a Grade 3 category, under which the Frances Baard District Municipality is classified, is entitled to a minimum salary of R985 303 with the maximum cap set at R1.2 million.

However, her salary, believed to be in the region of R1.3 million per annum, is in line with the maximum salary of a municipal manager in a Grade 5 municipality.

Councillors indicated that a municipal manager, who was awarded the highest salary notch, was required to have at least 10 years experience in local government and Bogatsu did not meet the criteria.

“The salary of the municipal manager has not been presented before council. Council was also not informed whether the money has been reimbursed yet.”

They added that the overpayment would have financial implications for the municipality. “It will have to be reported for investigation by the auditor-general as it could amount to financial misconduct.

“Council can only make recommendations to the MEC for Coghsta and the minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs regarding the salary notch.”

Councillors indicated that Bogatsu was serving in an acting capacity as municipal manager after her contract expired last year.

“Her contract was extended for three months from October 2017 and thereafter on a month-to-month basis, where her contract was supposed to come to an end on April 30.

“She has since been hired on a fixed-term contract as municipal manager from May 1.”

Sources indicated that ANC deputy regional secretary of the Frances Baard region, Wende Marekwa, who was employed at the Department of Roads and Public Works, was tipped as the favourite to be appointed as the new mayor at the district municipality.

“The other names that were put forward for the Speaker and executive mayor include Sisi Mothibi and Ana Moremong. Marekwa is the only person who is not an existing councillor.

“Councillor Vuyo Mlokoti will also have to vacate his post to accommodate Ingrid Koopman as a councillor.”

The Department of Roads and Public Works confirmed that McDonald Silingile was appointed as a media liaison officer in the department. “The Office of the MEC can confirm that Marekwa was in the service of the Department of Roads and Public Works since April 2010. He resigned on May 4.”

Marekwa appeared in the Barkly West Magistrate’s Court in August last year on charges of culpable homicide following a hit-and-run accident that took place on August 5 in Pike Street in Mataleng.

Silingile has resigned as the Frances Baard District Municipality’s Speaker and councillor to take up the post at the Department of Roads and Public Works.

The spokesperson for Coghsta, Xhanti Teki, referred media enquiries to the Frances Baard District Municipality.

Spokesperson for the ANC in the Frances Baard region, Tshepo Louw, pointed out that the issue relating to the salary of the district municipal manager “was not a new issue”. “We have, as a region, interacted with the municipality and are of the view that the municipal manager does not need to pay back any money.”.