The parties walked out of an in-committee meeting after the full council on Wednesday, breaking the quorum and blocking the confidential report which sought to apply for waivers in terms of salary packages from the national Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Department.
According to the report, which the Daily News has seen, the committee recommended that acting mayor Fawzia Peer be mandated to apply for waivers to the Cogta minister to place Nzuza at the maximum limits of the total remuneration package of R3 934 423.
Nzuza’s current salary is R3 296 589.63.
The salaries of Beryl Mphakathi (deputy city manager: human settlements, engineering and eThekwini transport authority); Phillip Sithole (deputy city manager: economic development and planning); and Musa Mbhele (chief operations officer) were set to increase to R2 601 272.
It was not clear how much they earn currently.
A source said the opposition parties walked out of the in-committee meeting when the item was raised.
“It was chaotic and the parties would have nothing to do with the salary increments. This is strange because ANC councillors have been calling for Nzuza to go following the suspension of Zandile Gumede. Suddenly they want to give him a salary increase of almost R700 000. This is madness,” said the source.
IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said the matter was confidential. However, when pressed for comment he said they felt there was no need to waste time discussing the item.
“This item mainly dealt with the city manager and there is no justification for a salary increase as there are many issues of service delivery in the city and people are not happy. Refuse in townships has not been removed for weeks. Also, four companies involved in the recent tender irregularities which saw mayor Zandile Gumede getting arrested have been awarded additional contracts. The city manager has now become state witness - this is highly questionable, as you cannot be a player as well as a referee,” Nkosi said.
The DA was also reluctant to comment on the matter, but caucus leader Nicole Graham said they did not agree with the proposal.
“We saw an opportunity to block the item and working with other opposition parties we broke the quorum and blocked the item,” Graham said.
Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said the department was not aware of the decision to increase Nzuza’s salary.
“Our advice is that you consult the municipality as this matter is within their purview. The department doesn’t comment on hearsay and rumours, but will comment once it has received formal notification of such an intention and having analysed and assessed the motivation,” Mabaso said.
Additional reporting by Thabiso Goba