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Covid-19: Mayors join salary challenge, Samwu says no ways

Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi, file image.
Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi, file image.
Image: Esa Alexander

As Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi and Ekurhuleni's Mzwandile Masina announced they would donate a portion of their earnings to the Covid-19 campaign, SA's municipal workers union said it would not be participating in the salary cut challenge.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday night that he, his entire executive and provincial premiers will take a 33% pay cut for the next three months, as he extended the current lockdown to end-April. The money — which totals about R13.4m — will be donated to the Covid-19 Solidarity Fund. He challenged others to follow suit.

“No two ways about it, I welcome the extension of the lockdown and will also follow the president's example by contributing 30% of my salary towards the solidarity fund. All of us must rise to the occasion,” Baloyi tweeted on Friday.

Masina shared on Thursday night that he, the city manager and group CFO would donate 33% of their salaries to the Solidarity Fund for the next three months. The metro's MMCs would give up 25%, the speaker 20% and chief whip 15%, he added.

Masina also said discussions were under way for heads of departments to donate a 25% contribution, divisional heads to donate a 12,5% contribution and officials to donate a 5% contribution over the next three months. Chairpersons of committees and councillors were being consulted too.

“We must all heed the call made by President Ramaphosa for us to rise to the occasion and live up to this national Thuma Mina moment. Every effort and gesture we can make as citizens will go far in assisting efforts to flatten the curve,” said Masina.

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) said on Friday its members would not participate in the salary cut challenge.

Samwu said municipal workers “do not have money laying around, unlike politicians”.

“We will therefore leave this challenge to politicians as we are not prepared and will not subsidise operations of employers.”

Samwu said municipalities should instead be talking about remuneration of workers who are on the front-line and payments of overtime that workers have put in outside their normal working hours.

“Forcing municipal workers to take a salary cut would be a declaration of war ... We expect municipalities to pay workers their salaries in full, including their benefits in line with their conditions of service.”


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