Poor municipality pays R1m to mayor's advisor
HAIBO: Advisor even earns more than the mayor
THE political advisor to the mayor of OR Tambo District Municipality, which serves some of the poorest areas in the Eastern Cape, costs taxpayers more than R1-million per year.
A municipal Integrated Development Plan (IDP) document, further revealed that the advisor earns R400,000 more than the mayor himself.
The salary of OR Tambo mayor Dingaan Myolwa stands at R696,881 per annum while his advisor Zama Mzamane, a former ANC Transkei region secretary, earns R 1,180,860 per annum.
He is the second highest paid employee after the municipal manager, who earns R1.2-million per annum.
Heads of the municipality’s directorates earn less than Mzamane.
When asked for comment, Mzamane declined to say what it is he does at the municipality. He referred all questions to municipal manager Tshaka Hlazo.
“You have been asking this question so many times, the issue seems to be political now,” Mzamane said.
Superintendent-general of the department of local government, Stanley Khanyile, said municipalities do not have to adhere to “strict recruitment procedures” required for civil service appointments.
“We do encourage good practices, and considered affordability, the size of the municipality – the appointment should not be done in a way that would shock people,” he said.
Khanyile said political advisors are meant to write speeches for their mayors, represent mayors in meetings and advise on political issues.
Hlazo said the Mzamane’s salary notch was inherited from the previous council.
“He was appointed before I came into the municipality and he was given a salary equivalent to the previous political advisor.”
Hlazo said the municipality would consider public outcry and look into the matter during the review of salaries.
Opposition parties have slammed the appointment and the R1-million salary earned by Mzamane.
DA MPL Dacre Haddon said: “It is imperative that these advisor appointments add value to the overall performance of a municipality and are not merely nice to haves as positions within such organisations”.
Haddon said the political advisor of Nelson Mandela Metro, a municipality whose grade is higher than OR Tambo, earns about R800,000 per annum.
“How is it possible that a metro political advisor earns less than the same incumbent in a smaller, less pressured and demanding district municipality? There is a concern that other municipalities in the province are embarking on employing unnecessary so called political advisors at inflated salary packages.
“I have been informed that some of the required duties of such advisors overlap with the duties of a Municipal Manager,” he said.
UDM MPL and public accounts committee chairman Max Mhlati said Mzamane’s appointment showed that people were only interested in giving each other money.
“Mzamane does not have anything special to add to the municipality. This shows that they are just giving each other money. It is a pity that our government has people who are looting state resources. It’s as if they know that this government will not last and they are determined to loot as much as they can before it does so.”
OR Tambo is one of the most under-performing municipalities in the province and the country.
The municipality has failed to spend more than 50% of its municipal infrastructure development grants even though its local municipalities are some of the worst affected by infrastructural backlogs.