Cape Town – Money set aside for municipal managers’ salaries in the Western Cape has increased by millions – and in one case by 40 percent over two years.
Municipal managers are some of the highest-paid officials in the country proportionate to the budgets they administer.
In total, the majority of municipalities plan to pay out nearly R40 million in municipal managers’ salaries, allowances and performance bonuses for the next financial year – an increase from R36.6m from two years ago.
Altogether, 28 municipalities out of 30 municipalities have published their budgets for municipal manager salaries.
The two exceptions are Swellendam and Prince Albert.
In terms of an overall increase in the salary amount, the George Municipality plans to spend 40 percent more on the salary of its municipal manager compared with two years ago.
The Saldanha Municipality has shown the biggest decrease in spending on its municipal manager – R1.3m less than in the 2011/12 financial year.
Cape Town’s R2.1m budget for its manager, Achmat Ebrahim, is more than the R1.8m budgeted for Premier Helen Zille’s pay this year.
It is the biggest amount allocated to a municipal manager in the province but is R600 000 less than what Joburg spends on its city manager.
The city has set aside R2.1m and budgeted to spend R1.8m on Ebrahim’s salary, R277 381 on other contributions and R40 930 in allowances.
Cape Town Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson said the city had not yet decided what increase to give Ebrahim, but only made provision in its budget for what it deemed adequate.
Theewaterskloof municipal manager Stanley Wallace will receive the second-highest allocation of R1.7m.
The municipality’s mayor, Chris Punt, said they budgeted R500 000 more than they planned to pay Wallace, to cover any unexpected increases that may come up during the year.
“At the moment he only gets R1.2m, but the extra money is for unexpected claims or mid-year increases,” he said.
The municipality budgeted to give Wallace a performance bonus of R134 165 for the year.
Five municipalities in the province have budgeted to spend between 25 and 40 percent more on municipal managers’ salaries this year than they spent two years ago.
These are the latest audited figures available to the Department of Local Government.
* George spent R1.2m in the 2011/12 financial and has budgeted to spend R1.7m – an increase of nearly R500 000.
* Eden district municipality will spend R1.4m on municipal manager, Godfrey Louw, an increase of nearly 32 percent from two years ago.
* Theewaterskloof, Bitou and Stellenbosch all recorded an increase of more than 25 percent in municipal manager salaries and will spend between R1.3m and R1.7m.
* The Cederberg Municipality set aside the biggest performance bonus budget, R200 000, for its Ian Kenned.
The Hawks raided the municipality in April and seized computers and cellphones as part of their investigations into corruption in the municipality.
* Other municipalities budget to spend between R67 000 and R185 000 each on performance bonuses.
Bitou municipal manager Allen Paulse said their municipality in Plettenberg Bay had done away with performance bonuses and had decided to build them into the total remuneration package.
He said this explained the increase of nearly 30 percent, or over R368 000, in expenditure on its municipal manager.
Bitou budgeted to spend R1.5m on Paulse this year.
The Kannaland Municipality has made the smallest allocation, of R1m, to its municipal manager, Morné Hoogbaard.
Local government MEC Anton Bredell said there were currently no national and provincial guidelines on municipal salaries.
“Promoting good governance will be in vain if the municipalities do not exercise prudence by ensuring that packages of senior managers are affordable,” he said.