Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Thursday it would oppose proposed salary hikes at Gauteng's Emfuleni municipality, arguing that the money should instead be used to improve services. 

"The Emfuleni council will convene a special meeting today [Thursday] to consider salary increases for councillors. The DA caucus in Emfuleni has decided to oppose the increase due to the dire state of municipal finances. The increase will amount to R55 119 785 being spent on salaries for councillors. 

"This amount exceeds the allotted budget for salary increases for councillors by R4 127 068.25," the party said on Thursday. "The increase means that councillors will receive roughly R55 000 per month, however, the bulk of this increase will go to the mayor, speaker, chief whip and mayoral committee members." 

Residents in the area recently went for days without water after the municipality failed to honour its payment agreement with water entity Rand Water. The municipality, which includes areas such as Vanderbijlpark, Sebokeng and Vereeniging, owed Rand Water at least R180 million and has defaulted several times on its payment agreements. The DA said officials do not deserve the salary increase. 

"With taps routinely running dry, power supplies routinely being cut and refuse removal taking two to three days to collect, it is obvious that the increase is not deserved. As it stands, the municipality cannot afford to keep up with the repayments to Rand Water."

African News Agency/ANA