En Garde! Mayors are only allowed two bodyguards


En Garde! Mayors are only allowed two bodyguards

Minister warns overpayment of councillors will constitute irregular expenditure, which municipalities must recover


Executive mayors, mayors and municipal speakers have been told they cannot have more than two bodyguards. But if they do, such a deviation can only come based on recommendations by the SA Police Service.
Councillors may also be accorded personal security subject to a threat and risk analysis, also conducted by the police.
This is contained in the “determination of upper limits of salaries, allowances and benefits of different members of municipal councils”, published in the Government Gazette on December 21 2018 and signed off by co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Zweli Mkhize.
The minister has set the total remuneration package for executive mayors at R1.3m. For speakers, deputy executive mayors or deputy mayors, the package is set at R1m – which is the same amount set for members of executive committees or mayoral committees, whips or chairpersons of a subcouncil – and R997,090 for chairpersons of a section 79 committee in a “grade 6” municipality.
The grading of municipalities is based on salary levels, and is dependent on an application to the provincial cooperative governance and traditional affairs department to approve that salary level. As a general rule, municipalities with bigger budgets - typically metros - are given higher grades.
An executive mayor for a grade 5 municipality will earn R1m, a grade 4 mayor R859,471, a grade 3 mayor R827,749, a grade 2 mayor R775,063 and a grade 1 mayor R752,483.
Part-time mayors and part-time councillors will earn between R756,866 and R237,856 a year depending on the category of the municipality they fall under.
Mkhize warned that any overpayment of councillors – including bonuses, bursaries, loans, advances or other benefits – is irregular expenditure and that municipalities must recover such monies.
Other perks to be received by municipal officials include a cellphone allowance of R3,400 a month, data bundles worth R300 a month, a housing allowance, office space and furniture, laptops or tables, and calculators.
The perks for part-time councillors include calculators, business cards, stationery and diaries, and access to postage costs, an office telephone and multi-digital office, fax machine, printer, photocopier and scanner.
The upper limits of allowances of councillors which constitute part of the annual total remuneration package also include a vehicle and travel allowance, and a housing allowance.
A councillor who uses a privately owned vehicle for official municipal duties may be reimbursed for official kilometres travelled, not exceeding the applicable tariffs as prescribed by the national transport department in terms of the municipal council’s policy.
Councillors using privately owned vehicles for official duties are required to keep a logbook containing the date of travel, the kilometres travelled and details such as the reason for the trip, to claim kilometres travelled.
Only in exceptional circumstances and upon good cause shown, and with the approval of the mayor or speaker, may a councillor use a municipal-owned vehicle for official purposes.
The council must then, in line with the approved municipal council policy, exercise “prudent financial management to ensure that the provision of motor vehicle does not undermine the need to prioritise service delivery and sustain viable municipalities”.
Councillors may structure their salaries to provide for housing allowances as part of the total remuneration package.
A councilor’s residential property can be insured for up to R1.5m while the limit on cars is R750,000.
“In the event where the residential property of a councillor was damaged or destroyed as a result of riot, civil unrest or public disorder, the municipality may, subject to affordability, provide alternative accommodation to the affected councillor for a period of 30 days from the date of such an incident.”
The country’s 257 municipalities will also be required to submit a report to the MEC responsible for local government in their respective provinces a report containing the total number of councillors, designation, part-time or full-time, the names of the councillors, their gender, total municipal income, total population, grading of the municipal council, date concurrence granted by the MEC, total remuneration package and any allowance payable to a councillor.
The MEC is required to submit such information to the national minister no later than February 28 2019.

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