Despite Limpopo being the poorest province in the country, Meriam Molala earns a whopping R800000 yearly.
She is the newly appointed municipal manager of the Capricorn district municipality in Limpopo.
There has been a public outcry that her salary is close to that of Premier Sello Moloto.
The municipality, however, yesterday maintained that Molala deserved the R790 400 yearly salary because she is "competent" and has "administrative skills".
She was appointed to the municipality last month following the death of former manager, Tracy Malatji, last September after a short illness.
The issue of salaries for municipal managers has previously been debated, and the predominant feeling is that most of them earn even more than the president.
Metro municipalities managers earn fat salaries of up to R1 million yearly or more.
In terms of the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Act, the president's yearly salary is R1,1 million, while the premier earns about R850 000.
Executive mayor Motalane Monakedi said yesterday that Molala's salary was determined by the remuneration committee, which set out to check what the other municipalities were getting.
Monakedi said the remuneration committee had engaged the services of Oupa Mminele, an expert on remuneration issues, to determine what the other municipalities were earning in the country.
"We did a lot of benchmarking in putting together the salary.
"The mayoral committee resolved that in the best interests of service delivery it was worthwhile to pay Molala that amount."
Molala was previously a consultant with the department of water affairs and forestry.
Monakedi said they had to twist Molala's arm into accepting the offer.
"It is not an issue of someone earning more than the premier," Monakedi said.
"It is an issue of expertise and competency. We are talking of experience, competency and being skilled here."