Home News Sol mayor mum on Ramaphosa’s ‘salary challenge’

Sol mayor mum on Ramaphosa’s ‘salary challenge’

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Sol Plaatje Municipality executive mayor Patrick Mabilo has remained silent on whether he will follow the example of President Cyril Ramaphosa to donate a third of his salary to the fund.

WHILE a call has been made for all public servants in national and provincial departments to donate to the Solidarity Fund, Sol Plaatje Municipality executive mayor Patrick Mabilo has remained silent on whether he will follow the example of President Cyril Ramaphosa to donate a third of his salary to the fund.

Media enquiries regarding donations by the executive mayor, his mayoral committee and other councillors, which were sent over the weekend to Mabilo’s spokesperson, Persome Oliphant, were ignored, while an e-mail sent directly to Mabilo was also not answered.

Bronwyn Thomas-Abrahams from the Office of the Northern Cape Premier indicated that she would respond once she had the necessary information, while the ANC’s provincial secretary, Deshi Ngxanga, also failed to respond. It is, however, believed that the ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) has not yet met to discuss the matter.

The Forum of South Africa’s Directors-General (FOSAD) met on Sunday, where a decision was made to support the call by the National Coronavirus Command Council for members of political leadership and the executive layer of the public service to make contributions to the Solidarity Fund.

FOSAD further called on all public servants in national and provincial departments, including those in public entities, to donate to the fund in an effort to support South Africans whose lives have been disrupted by the pandemic and care for those in hospital or medical care. 

At the meeting, Directors-General directed amounts for donations by the Senior Management Service (directors-general/ HODs, deputy directors-general, chief directors and directors). 

It was pointed out that this would apply to all other officials remunerated at these levels including advisers, political office staff, etc.

FOSAD appealed to public servants to dig deeper in their pockets in support of this cause.

The Department of Public Service and Administration was tasked to further work on details, taking into account the relevant legal environment, and a circular with details will be sent to all departments in due course.

“We welcome this patriotic contribution by FOSAD members, who voluntarily made this decision. Every effort made to alleviate the devastating consequences of the coronavirus pandemic is highly appreciated. These public servants continue to demonstrate their commitment to the Batho Pele Value Statement: We Belong (to our people), We Care (about our people), We Serve (our people),” said President Ramaphosa in response to the announcement.

In other municipalities, mayors, together with their mayoral councils, as well as top officials, have come forward to announce that they will be donating a portion of their salary to the fund.

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) meanwhile said its members would not tolerate discussions about taking any salary cuts to contribute to the Solidarity Fund.

Samwu said that although it sympathises and recognises the need for more resources to be channelled towards South Africa’s coronavirus response efforts, such responses cannot be done by “pickpocketing municipal workers of their hard-earned money, which is not even enough to cover their basic needs as they are not paid decent wages”.   

The union said municipal workers are at the bottom of the food chain. 

“They simply do not have money lying around like politicians. We will therefore leave this challenge to politicians as we are not prepared and will not subsidise operations of employers,” said Samwu. 

The union said municipalities should be talking about remuneration of workers who are on the front line to ensure that South Africans are safe and healthy and that there is continuation of service delivery. 

Samwu also called for payment of overtime to workers who have put in extra hours outside their normal working time. 

“We therefore urge all of the country’s 254 municipalities and their entities to not even dare and include municipal workers as participants in this challenge of theirs. Forcing municipal workers to take a salary cut would be a declaration of war, a war that municipal workers are prepared and well-oiled to fight to the bitter end,” said Samwu. 

“We therefore expect municipalities to pay workers their salaries in full, including their benefits, in line with their conditions of service.”