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Broke Amathole District Municipality won't be able to pay 4 months' salaries

Last week, it notified councillors and other employees that it would not be able to pay the salaries for four months.

Amathole District Municipality Mayor Khanyile Maneli. Picture: Amahthole.gov.za.

CAPE TOWN - The cash-trapped Amathole District Municipality in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday urgently sought financial help from the provincial and national governments.

So broke is the municipality that last week, it notified councillors and other employees that it would not be able to pay the salaries for four months. This will affect 1,670 people.

Mayor Khanyile Maneli met with officials on Monday.

The Amathole District Municipality approached the Eastern Cape and national government asking for about R65 million per month in order to meet pressing obligations, including salaries.

It also asked for an extra R150 million for so-called mutual separation agreements, where staff would be given the option to apply to part ways with the municipality. This would target 33% of employees at middle management.

Mayor Khanyile Maneli said they were hoping government could help.

"On Thursday we make a presentation to the national Cogta and national Treasury. I have no doubt that it's going to provide us with some positive results," he said.

Maneli added that he was transparent about what led to the financial collapse.

"I pointed out all the challenges we have as a result of the wrong decisions that were taken by the managers before.
The municipality was wrongly categorised from six to seven [as per salary scales set out by the Bargaining Council]. It increases the salaries of workers, workers were given the wrong benefits."

At the same time, Parliament urged the municipality to find a solution to its situation."

AMATHOLE MEETS WITH DLAMINI-ZUMA

Gasping for financial assistance, Amathole District Municipality officials met with Cooperative Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and provincial Treasury.

Maneli is optimistic they'll get help: “The meeting was adjourned for this Thursday where we are going to rope in the National Treasury and Salga. So, we hope that we are going to make a victory in that meeting because it was clear from the indications that the Cooperative Governance Department is sympathetic towards our cause.

Maneli said the employment of over 900 workers between the 2013/14 and 2017/18 financial years, resulted in an inflated staff compliment.

“It was just the wrong decision to employ those people in those positions because those positions were not strategic; they were not assisting the institution in terms of the service delivery model.

Municipal manager Thandekile Mnyimba drafted a turnaround strategy for the institution, it points to mismanagement by previous administrations that contributed to current the disastrous state of affairs.

READ: Mayor Khanyile Maneli's full speech on the state of the Amathole district on 13 January 2021

Maneli Amathole Final Speech Em 13 Jan 21 by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd