No wonder we have major service delivery problems, and people embarking on violent service delivery protests in South Africa. The salaries that municipal managers get paid are absolutely outrageous. And yes, I know there are other issues to consider, lack of capacity, socio-political history and all the rest of it. But with people creaming the system like this it can be difficult to take governments stated intentions to rectify service delivery problems seriously.
According to Business Day newspaper:
"Several municipal managers earn more than cabinet ministers. Excluding the maximum 20% a year performance bonus, the Johannesburg metropolitan municipal manager earns R938576, the executive director of finance R917037 and chief operations manager R879807. Ekurhuleni’s manager earned R905929 a year, Tshwane’s R862000, Motsweding district municipal manager R574998, Kungwini’s R550000, Nokeng Tsa Taemane’s R542000, West Rand’s R750000, Randfontein’s R530900, Westonaria’s R286540, Mogale’s R745069, Merafong’s R600000 and Lesedi’s R478240.Sedibeng’s manager earns a salary of R767658 plus a performance bonus of R150000 giving a total of R917658 a year. Emfuleni’s manager earns R774852 plus a bonus of R150000. Midvaal municipal manager earns a basic annual R615511 plus a bonus of R122567."
Maybe we need some sort of legislation to govern municipal salaries. I know you need to attract people from the private sector but salaries like this are unacceptable, especially when so many of the municipalities are situated in poor and struggling communities.
In the meantime, at their National General Council currently taking place, the ANC has identified moral decay related to self enrichment as a major problem affecting the party. Speaking at the Council meeting, ANC secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe said that "All the paralysis in our programmes, all the divisions in our structures, are in one way or another a consequence of this cancer in our midst". Motlanthe added that the ANC was seeking to deepen a consciousness of the problem among its members to shield them from “susceptibility to temptation”. I think it's great that the ANC has come out and acknowledged this problem at an important party conference, but unfortunately, politics is not therapy where change can be affected through self acknowlegment. The ANC must ACT to root out corruption in local government.
Incidently, the total outstanding debt of our 284 local municipalities was R36bn in 2003, a 13% rise compared with the previous year. The debt is likely to be much higher now, though the 2004 and 2005 figures are not yet available.