Ward committee members in Polokwane protest for salaries

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Ward committee members at the Polokwane municipality in Limpopo have marched to the municipal offices demanding their salaries. The ward committees were formed in February following last November’s local government elections.

Ward committees are formed to work with communities and councillors on service delivery issues. The municipality has however resolved to dissolve the ward committees and re-run their elections.

Over 35 ward committee members from Moletjie, Mankweng, and Seshego villages marched to the Polokwane municipality to demand answers on the no-payment of salary. They submitted their memorandum to the office of the mayor, calling for the council to rescind its resolution to nullify their election.

They say they were elected and deployed in February this year, but they have not been paid since then.

“We are the Ward committees, they cannot tell us about the re-run when we are expecting a stipend, because we have been working for so long. For eight months, we have been working using our own money to do everything. We are facing the frustration that we really don’t know what to do at this point in time, poor as we are. Since February, to date the municipality sat down and realised that the stipends that they were supposed to give to us cost millions, now after realizing that they’re going to lose those millions, they came up with a resolution to say there must be a re-run.”

Meanwhile, Polokwane municipality spokesperson, Thipa Selala says procedures were not followed when the ward committees were elected, and they must be re-run.

“That process was done outside the prescripts of the municipal legislations, the Municipal Structures Act, which says only 10 members of the ward committees must be elected. So only 10 out of 45 wards were complying with that Act. We’re in the process of nomination and re-establishment. Now we have written the letter to the CoGHSTA MEC Makamu, who responded to say the municipality must re-establish before the 14th of October then now we are re-establishing. Over the weekend, we started with the Moletji Cluster and Aganang and so the process is now ongoing.”

The ward committees say the municipality must also re-run the elections of ward councilors if they want to nullify their election. They have given the municipality seven days to respond to their grievances.