Izinduna in KwaZulu-Natal are putting pressure on the government to backpay them salaries amounting to more than R1 billion. Picture: Masi Losi African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - Izinduna in KwaZulu-Natal are putting pressure on the government to backpay them salaries amounting to more than R1 billion.

Early this week, they met UDM leader Bantu Holomisa in Mtubatuba and asked for his assistance to push for the payment of the R1.2bn backpay.

Holomisa has since written to the Presidency, the Ministry of Finance and the provincial premier’s office asking if and why the Izinduna had not been paid their monies and for that to be corrected.

The salary backpay was accumulated between 2014 and 2017. The provincial government had delayed paying the salaries of izinduna after they were proclaimed by then-president Jacob Zuma, saying it had no money. In the 2017/18 financial year, it relented and more than R300 million for 3 150 izinduna was made available.

The money was sourced from a different department. Fifty percent came from the provincial department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).

A report on the matter compiled two weeks ago by the national portfolio committee showed that the issue was far from being resolved.

“Numerous pleas to the national government have fallen on deaf ears. As a result, the province is paying R334m per annum and yet the backpay portion as yet unpaid is over R1.1bn,” said the report.

In his letter, Holomisa said: “The Izinduna of the entire KwaZulu-Natal feel that they are being treated differently from traditional leaders in other provinces.

“The topic is quite clear, this was proclaimed by the government and Izinduna are equal in all provinces. Izinduna are paid by the government and as such this province needs to explain what it did with that money.”

Prince Ntuthuko Mkhwanazi, who was part of the meeting, confirmed that izinduna had pleaded with Holomisa to assist them.

The Ministry of Finance said it was not aware of any letter written by the UDM to the National Treasury.