Plans to increase stipends of ward committees by more than 100% in the Buffalo City Metro have been delayed as the metro’s council is divided on whether to effect the increase or not.
BCM wanted to increase its ward committee members’ stipends from R1120 to match cash-strapped King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality’s R2500 stipend.
This would mean, BCM’s budget for ward committee members would increase from R6.7-million to R15-million a year.
The DA in council has lambasted the idea of increasing the stipends to match KSD’s, saying the OR Tambo-based local authority was not a good example to follow as it was “almost bankrupt”.
Another cash-strapped local authority that does not have much of an income but pays its ward committees R2000 is Mhlontlo municipality, also in the OR Tambo district.
The investigation by BCM council speaker Alfred Mtsi was tabled in council on Friday after DA councillors in April demanded an investigation should be conducted in other municipalities before an increase in BCM can be approved in council.
The report showed how much the various other cities pay.
Nelson Mandela Bay, City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni Metro, Ethekwini Metro, Mangaung Metro, Amahlathi local municipality, Mnquma local municipality, Matatiele local municipality and Ntabankulu local municipalities all pay R1000 stipends for the ward committees.
The City of Cape Town was the lowest paying, with R500 for its 116 wards where up to 10 people serve on the committees.
Ward committees from Mbhashe local municipality are paid R990 and Ingquza Hill municipality pays R1303.
Speaking against the proposed increase, the DA’s Mawethu Kosani said: “When we make reference of the KSD municipality we need to take note that the KSD is almost bankrupt – so it cannot be that as this council we make a reference of such of a municipality,” Kosani said.
However, the ANC’s Sindiswa Gomba said debates should not be made on sentiments but rather on facts.
“Let us get to the decent way of making our people live for the work they are doing. When we are here the whole day (council meeting) they work. I propose that we undertake to bring to council that kind of motivation in the next council meeting,” Gomba added.
DA councillor Terence Fritz said the party was not opposed to the increase. However, the process needs to be guided by the legislation.
Council speaker Alfred Mtsi was once again tasked with investigating what the legislation states when it comes to stipends for ward committees and report back to the council before a decision can be taken.
Sister newspaper Daily Dispatch reported that the BCM ANC councillors wanted to double ward committee stipends from July 1 this year.
NMB’s spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said it was a council decision to pay R1000 to each ward committee per month.