Durban - National Freedom Party (NFP) councillors are angry that 35 percent of their salaries are being docked because the party is cash strapped – a claim the party’s secretary-general has denied.
The NFP has been sustained financially by councillors elected from the 2011 local government elections.
According to the party, 15 percent was being deducted from their salaries to cover the R7 million election bill in-curred during the campaign.
Councillors who spoke to the Sunday Tribune this week said this was taking a toll now that the party is faced with a new R14m election bill from the general elections in May.
“In two years time we will be faced with another election bill for the local government elections. It just doesn’t end, because the party is not raising enough funds. We also have bills to take care of, but we cannot because we are in a way indebted to the party,” a councillor from Hlabisa said.
Another councillor, from Estcourt, said the party could not afford a permanent office because it was about to be evicted from their Clark Road headquarters in Durban.
“We have been paying all along. What is the money being used for when we continue to incur further costs? Some of our councillors say they have had to dig deeper into their pockets to sustain the party, giving as much as 35 percent of their salaries,” he said.
NFP secretary-general, Nhlanhla Khubisa, said none of the councillors had expressed concern to the party regarding the payments.
“All councillors, as per the resolution that was taken, pay 15 percent that is deducted from their salaries every month. We use the same service providers to help us collect this money. It’s an agreement they signed up to. There’s no councillor who pays more than that,” said Khubisa.
He said the R7m debt incurred in 2011 was paid up and councillors, members of the provincial legislature and the National Assembly were now helping the party pay off the R14m bill incurred in the recent elections.
“It was only during the campaign that councillors were asked to contribute separately another 5 percent to cover operational costs since we received no funding that other parties enjoy. This deduction fell off and was ceased as soon as the elections were over. We are a democratic party, we meet and discuss these things with our councillors,” he said.
Khubisa denied that the party was cash-strapped. He said the building in Clark Road was put up for sale by the landlord.
“We don’t own the building, we are tenants and pay rent. Allegations that some of our assets were attached and that we are being evicted are not true,” he said.
NFP MPL Erickson Zungu, from Newcastle, agreed with Khubisa, saying there had been no complaints from councillors.
“We have a party resolution that binds councillors to this payment. It includes people like myself who have been deployed to the legislatures. This is the only way our party will stay afloat,” he said.
The NFP has more than 100 councillors in KwaZulu-Natal, six members in the KZN legislature and another six in the National Assembly.