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DURBAN - Political parties in Msunduzi Municipality should be held individually accountable for decisions they made that negatively affected its functioning.

That was the response of opposition parties in the council who were aggrieved by the news that councillors would not be receiving their annual salary increases this financial year.

This was the second time ordinary councillors had not received an increment and the third year for executive committee members.

The municipality was recently placed under administration because of its poor financial performance, dysfunction in the council and the failure of councillors to fulfil their obligations.

DA caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola said while the party was aware of the salary increase issue, no report had yet been brought before council. Owing to the municipality’s distress, the decision not to approve increases was not a surprise, he added.

He said the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) and the ruling party should examine its role in the collapse of the municipality.

Majola said it was unfair for councillors to be denied increases as the cost of living was increasing, however “the focus is on reviving the municipality”.

Rienus Niemand of the African Christian Democratic Party said it supported the decision but that this was not fair.

He said the party had been calling for the council to be dissolved because trying to salvage the municipality with its current leaders would not work.

Sandile Shange of the EFF said it was not fair that all councillors were being blamed, but he said the party accepted the decision.

“We are public servants and we accept that decision,” he said, adding that it was important to get the municipality sorted out.

ANC Msunduzi caucus leader Tholakele Dlamini declined to comment on the matter and referred The Mercury to the mayor’s office.

Mayor Themba Njilo said councillors were upset that they would not receive increases.

“We plead with the MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube to show mercy.”

He added that while officials were largely to blame for the crisis, they would receive salary increases.

“That is where some of the punishment should be directed,” he said.

THE MERCURY