Durban - The IFP has welcomed the steps taken by the KwaZulu-Natal government to settle the backpay owed to izinduna in the province.
The KwaZulu-Natal Treasury Department has set aside close to R630 million to settle the salary backpay owed to thousands of Izinduna.
IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said: “The IFP welcomes the step forward regarding the remuneration of izinduna as this step was initiated by the IFP during the time when the late Inkosi Nyanga Ngubane was the MEC, Cogta, KwaZulu-Natal.”
Tabling her budget statement last week, MEC for Finance Peggy Nkonyeni said an amount of R631m had been set aside to settle the backpay this financial year.
This amount is down from the massive R1.5 billion that was reported the provincial government owes izinduna as backpay.
The issue has been a thorn in the side of the provincial government. Izinduna had demanded to receive their backpay, but the provincial government had kicked the matter upstairs to the national government, saying it was the national government that made the pronouncement on paying izinduna and as such, it should own this liability,
After years of delays, Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube revealed recently that as part of the provincial budget, the issue of the backpay would finally be addressed.
Nkonyeni said: “Besides the usual activities related to support provided to traditional institutional management, the department is allocated R631.1m in 2023/24, as indicated earlier, to settle the backpay amount owed to the izinduna in this province.
“Prior to the department effecting any payments in this regard, a meeting will be held between provincial treasury and Cogta to discuss the payment process, as well as the internal controls in place to ensure that these funds are disbursed correctly.
“It should be noted that these funds are specifically and exclusively allocated and may, therefore, not be used for any other purpose,” she said.
In March last year, The Mercury reported that the huge salary backpay had been reduced drastically, by more than half, from R1.5bn to R630m.
At a meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature on Sunday, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs revealed that following a thorough assessment it found that the backpay had been exaggerated.
The department said the figure was exaggerated based on the assumption that all the vacancies of izinduna were filled and that all had worked the same number of months.
The past reports had stated that there were more than 3 000 izinduna across the province.