council withholds bonuses

AN ANC councillor in the IFP-led Abaqulusi municipality in Vryheid, northern Zululand, has described the state of affairs at the local authority as a disaster.

Councillor Zenzele Buthelezi said the municipality was in a mess after it approved the payment of a 13percent salary hike to the then municipal manager Johnson Mathenjwa and an 11percent bonus to the chief financial officer, Magdalene Pearson.

The increases were approved despite the disappearance of R300000 from the municipal coffers two years ago.

"We view this as disastrous considering that we have a budget of just over R14million," Buthelezi said.

Mathenjwa (a former chairperson of the IFP's political oversight committee) resigned last year.

"We are concerned at the manner in which the municipality handled the issue of evaluation," Buthelezi said.

He said of great concern was that R300 000 went missing and yet people responsible for administration were "thanked" for their shoddy work.

Buthelezi said the council recommended the approval of payments to Mathenjwa and Pearson during a special council meeting held on February 24.

"The recommendations were made by the ad hoc committee and the council approved," he said.

He said they were of the view that if the municipal manager got the bonus, so must other managers directly accountable to him, as stipulated in the municipal system Act.

"But over and above this, two years ago the municipality lost about R300000, which is still unaccounted for.

"The municipality had to adjust the budget because of the expenditure and (it is the responsibility) of the chief financial officer to supervise, monitor and control the management of finances.

"We beg to differ with the ad hoc committee on performance evaluation. The committee has deliberately misled the council or it lacked understanding of the performance management system."

Buthelezi said they were against the payment of the bonuses because "it constitutes wasteful expenditure". He said the executive committee was obliged to refer the matter to the full council before a decision could be taken.

Municipal manager Bonga Ntanzi was said to be in a meeting, but his secretary promised to give him Sowetan's queries.

Mayor George Dlamini confirmed the approval of the bonuses and that R300000 had gone missing from the municipality coffers.

"But we could not give them the (bonuses) because of the R300000 that went missing," Dlamini said.

He said the council was still investigating how the money went missing and that those responsible would be dealt with after the probe.