File photo: Reuters

Durban - Senior eThekwini Municipality officials are being given more than R1.4 million in total as reward for performing well in their jobs.

The decision to award performance bonuses to 16 senior managers, including the heads of various departments and the deputy city managers, has angered ratepayer groups and opposition councillors.

City manager, S’bu Sithole, is getting the nod for a R179 867 performance bonus for work over the past two financial years.

This is over and above his annual R2.3m salary, which with allowances and contributions pushed his total package to R2.7m, city documents reveal.

The total cost of the municipality’s executive pay is more than R123m, which incudes the R1.4m in performance bonuses to its 16 senior managers.

City treasurer, Krish Kumar, received R91 925 in addition to his R1.3m salary, while deputy city manager of health, safety and social services, Musa Gumede, received the second-highest performance bonus after Sithole’s – R138 153, over and above his R1.7m annual salary.

The figures are contained in the city’s medium-term revenue and expenditure report tabled at council recently.

It shows that Kumar is the second-highest paid city official with a total package of R2.5m, including R825 000 in allowances, followed by Gumede at R2.3m.

According to the report, deputy city manager of human resources, Dumisile Nene, and deputy city manager of sustainable development, Naledi Moyo, received bonuses of R127 443.

Their total packages were R2m and R1.9m respectively. Other senior managers received bonuses between R59 000 and R112 000.

Ratepayer organisations and opposition councillors are livid.

“How can they receive such bonuses when the city has for the last six years failed to achieve a clean audit?” asked Lilian Develing, chairwoman of the Confederation of Mistbelt Ratepayers and Residents’ Association.

She said senior managers could not justify the bonuses when ratepayers were being slapped with above-inflation increases for electricity, water and rates.

“They justify these increases on the basis that they want to retain their skills in the municipality and for them not to leave for the private sector, but the argument is becoming stale when you actually look at their performance,” she said.

“They are creating more red tape by making people apply for rates rebates and they increase everything above the consumer price index (CPIX). If they were doing a good job then they would be making ratepayers’ lives easier and keeping costs below CPIX.”

The city’s communications department did not respond to detailed questions from the Daily News by the time of publication.

A panel, which included mayor James Nxumalo and other independent officials, assessed the managers’ performance for the 2011/12 and 2012/13 financial years.

The managers were given scores out of five. An official who scored 3 was regarded as having fulfilled his duties and anything above that meant he had gone beyond what was required.

The DA’s eThekwini caucus leader, Zwakele Mncwango, said it was shocking that the managers were given performance bonuses “for not performing”. He said the DA had no problem awarding managers who had done well.

“Why are we rewarding senior managers with bonuses when we have such a huge backlog in housing and electricity?”

Mncwango said during the past financial year the city had failed to spend more than R700m of its capital budget for projects that had already been approved.

“If you can’t spend money that is available to you it means that you are failing to plan. By giving them the bonuses we are rewarding poor performance.”

MF councillor, Patrick Pillay, who sits on the city’s executive committee, said they did not believe the senior managers deserved such high performance bonuses.

“We believe the salary structure of the municipality is very high and does not tie in with our attempts to implement austerity measures to save our city from a financial meltdown,” he said.

During his final term in office, former city manager, Mike Sutcliffe, received a performance bonus of R130 877.

The medium-term revenue and expenditure report also revealed that the mayor’s total package for the past financial year was R1.2m, while his deputy, Nomvuso Shabalala received just over R1m.

City Speaker, Logie Naidoo, was paid R978 000 while chief whip, Stanley Xulu, earned R905 000.

Daily News