Durban - The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has given the thumbs down to salary increases for public representatives including President Jacob Zuma and Premier Senzo Mchunu.
The party in the province said Zuma, government ministers, MPs, MPLs and MECs should not accept salary increases while the country faced economic difficulties.
Zuma’s annual increase has already been passed by Parliament.
To gain national support for its call, the provincial executive committee will lobby its counterparts in the national executive committee and other provincial leaders to adopt the stance in response to the country’s economical crisis.
During the provincial budget address last week, Finance MEC Belinda Scott announced austerity measures which included freezing vacant posts in non-essential provincial departments, doing away with unnecessary travel expenses and expensive government events.
ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma spoke about rejecting increases soon after multiparty members of the provincial legislature had voted in favour of increasing Premier Senzo Mchunu’s salary by 4.4% to R2.1m per annum.
Last week the national assembly also voted in favour of President Jacob Zuma’s salary increase from R2.75m to R2.87m.
MPLs earn around R1.2m a year while MECs get about R1.5m.
‘We as the ANC in the province are engaging with the national leadership to say we should take a decision to say no minister, no MP, or MPL should accept a salary increase, so that the money can effectively be rechannelled to service delivery matters,’ said Super Zuma.
ANC provincial spokesman Mdumiseni Ntuli said even though the salaries of the president and Mchunu had been anonymously approved by both the national assembly and provincial legislature respectively, it did not mean the approval should be implemented.
ANC deputy chief whip Nontembeko Boyce last week introduced Mchunu’s salary increase as a motion, which was soon adopted by MPLs from all political parties.
When contacted for comment on the matter, ANC national spokesman Zizi Kodwa said: ‘We have not heard that proposal from them (ANC PEC). I don’t want to speculate.’
IFP MPL Joshua Mazibuko did not support the proposal as he said public representatives and judges, ‘need money to feed themselves in order to be able to carry out their duties’.
‘The truth is that although we are public representatives, the premier, MPLs and judges cannot work while they are hungry...
‘It (salary increases for public representatives) should not be affected by budget cuts because it is money that has already been budgeted for ...’ he said.
DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango, a councillor at eThekwini Municipality, conditionally supported the recommendation.
‘MPLs are earning a good salary, they can survive without an increase. eThekwini councillors are earning good salaries and they can survive without increase.
‘But someone who is a councillor in Nongoma earns something like R10 000; some councillors even earn R8 000 while working in difficult conditions and should have a salary increase,’ he said.
EFF MPL Vusi Khoza said his party would recommend that public representatives, who he said were “earning more than they deserve”, should take a salary cut instead of an increase. He said although they supported Mchunu’s salary increase now, they would not support it next year.