The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) has proposed a total freeze of salary increases (which came into effect on 1 July) in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. SALGA said this will result in a saving of R6 950 694 276 for municipalities.
In a proposed salary and wage agreement review proposal, the association asked if it was morally and ethically justifiable to implement above inflationary increases when the residents who pay for these increases are suffering.
The Democratic Alliance in Madibeng also objected to the 6.25% proposed increase for Madibeng employees during a budget council meeting recently, saying that in light of the municipality ‘s current financial situation, the municipality could not afford it.
“The Covid-19 pandemic had a major impact on the finances of the municipalities with less demand for electricity/water that is a major part of the income of municipalities. The pandemic caused 4.7 million workers as of mid-June 2020 to be reliant on UIF for a reduced income which directly affects the payment to municipalities for rates and other related services,” SALGA said.
“At the time of reviewing their budgets the actual financial impact of Covid-19 on the finances of the municipalities were not known. Any loss of income due to consumers not being able to pay for services would result in a shortfall in the budget.”
The current increase of 6.25% is well above the average inflation rate of 4.8%.
“Being faced with Covid-19, and as the leadership within the local government sector, we must ask ourselves what are the moral and ethical values that must underpin decision-making during this time. Is it is morally and ethically justifiable to implement above inflationary increases when the residents who pay for these increases are suffering?”