Treasury asked to administer salaries at Ditsobotla Local Municipality

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The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) in the Lichtenburg-based Ditsobotla Local Municipality in the North West has requested National Treasury to administer salaries of employees for the next six months. The municipality, with a staff compliment of about 750, has been unable to pay salaries for two consecutive months. It’s been almost a year since Treasury withheld the equitable share of the municipality.

Ditsobotla Municipality was placed under mandatory intervention by the provincial government two months ago. The municipal council recently elected a new mayor from the Forum for Service Delivery. This followed the ousting of former mayor, Itumeleng Lethoko from the Patriotic Alliance, through a motion of no confidence. Despite the changes, the municipality is still struggling to stay afloat. Some workers are not reporting for work anymore.

“As SAMWU we tried to talk to management to say write to the Provincial Treasury or National Treasury for intervention to at least honour the agreement of the salaries because our agreement is that on 25 of every month, we are getting our salaries. So, Provincial and National Treasury if they can intervene at least may be the situation can be better for the workers to come to work because there is no money for them travelling,” Vuyisile Jukimlambo, SAMWU secretary explains.

The municipality is said to have a monthly payroll of over R12 million. Workers say the non-payment of salaries has affected their livelihoods.

“We have policies that we must pay. We have medical aids and recently as municipal employee working in water department, I had flu and I could not get medication from the chemist,” a worker explains.

“Now it is very frustrating that we encounter such problems that our medical aids have lapsed, yet and this morning we woke up with bad news that one of our colleagues has passed on and now we are worried that how is he going to be buried because the policy has not been paid yet,” another worker says.

Mayor Thabiso Nkash says bloated staff and lack of revenue collection are major concerns.

“Actually, we are collecting revenue by the way the revenue coming into our bank is not sufficient for us to pay salaries but for now it is not at the level where we can be able to pay our salaries. We are expecting our equitable shares on the seventh or later than that because this is a new financial year, that is why we have that hope that we can have our equitable shares,” says Nkash.

It’s unclear whether the municipality will be able to pay salaries this week if it receives its equitable share for 2023/2024 financial year.