DA: Nlambe Municipality panders to unions by approving wage increases

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is appalled at the decision by the Ndlambe Municipal Council to approve a staff wage increase without considering the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the municipal budget and while corruption and maladministration are rife in the municipality.

DA Ndlambe caucus leader Ray Schenk

In a press statement today, DA Ndlambe caucus leader Ray Schenk said: “The DA strongly opposed this decision that was taken at a council meeting on August 4 to approve the payment of 6.25% wage increments, as agreed upon in 2018 between labour unions and SALGA [SA Local Government Association] after a three-year wage negotiation.

“Our position in the meeting was that council was not considering the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the municipal budget. Covid-19 has created an extraordinary situation, and the lives and livelihoods of millions of people have been affected.”

During the council meeting, the DA argued that SALGA, as the bargaining body on behalf of municipalities, should re-negotiate salary increases with the labour unions.

“The payment of these increases amounts to little more than pandering to the unions at the expense of ratepayers, and the DA will not stand idly by and let this happen,” Schenk said.

“It is completely unacceptable that the council has decided to pay salary increases while corruption and maladministration are clearly rife in the Ndlambe Local Municipality.”

The Hawks are currently investigating the unlawful and irregular awarding of a tender for the installation of a reverse osmosis (RO) plant by the municipality.

On July 13, the DA opened a criminal case against Ndlambe municipal manager Rolly Dumezweni at the Port Alfred Police Station, following a High Court judgement, which found that the awarding of a tender to Quality Filtration Systems for the installation of an RO plant was unlawful and irregular. A pre-payment of R20-million was made to QFS before a contract had even been signed.

Recently, a case brought against the municipality for irregular tendering processes by the Kenton-on-Sea Ratepayers Association highlighted several failures in the municipal supply chain management system.

Successive audit reports have also revealed that there is a constant failure in Ndlambe’s supply chain management processes.

“I have written to the DA EC Shadow MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Vicky Knoetze, MPL, and requested she take this matter up in the Bhisho Legislature,” Schenk said.

“The DA will not tolerate corruption, maladministration or financial misconduct on our watch. Municipal finances must be utilised to benefit the residents of the municipality, not to benefit the connected few.”

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