Bitou Captured – Top Six Municipal Managers earn as Much as Ramaphosa!!!!!! 
The upper crust of the Bitou Municipality’s administration is made up of the Municipal Manager, the Chief Financial Officer and four Directors. They are not permanent employees but are employed on 5-year fixed term contacts. According to the municipality’s annual budget they manage and are responsible for the administration of a Capital Budget of R82 million and an operating budget of R617 million. The above budget also records what they were paid to do so in the last financial year, the previous financial year and the current financial year.

While annual increases for other municipal staff are negotiated at a national level and the municipality has very little control, those of the top six are determined locally during the annual budgeting process. The annual budget is drawn up by these senior officials and the Executive Mayor and presented to Council for their approval on our (the Plett residents’) behalf.

Annual salary increases for other municipal workers were determined at 7% for the financial year 2018/2019.

The annual budget reflects how we residents treated our top six officials financially in the past two financial years and in the current one. Are we good employers?

Cost of Bitou’s Six Senior managers (Municipal Manager, CFO, 4 Heads of Department)

  • (R thousands)                                        2016/17                      2017/18                      2018/19
  • Basic salaries                                           R6,197                        R8,202                        R18,336
  • Pension                                                    498                              975                             2,231
  • Medical Aid Contribution                        226                              302                               686
  • Motor Vehicle Allowance                         489                          1,233                            3,277
  • Cell Phone Allowance                              137                              372                               570
  • Housing Allowance                                    25                               13                               111
  • Other benefits                                               0                          1,859                           1,859
  • Payment in lieu of leave                          150                                0                                536
  • Post-retirement benefits                           618                               0                             1,425

Sub-total for Senior Managers                R8,340                       R12,955                   R29,028

Source:  Bitou Multi-year Operating and Capital Budgets, 31 May 2018, pages 60-61.

That is a great deal of money, but it is after all to be shared by six people. The budget does not tell us what proportion of the pot each gets, but for the purposes of this exercise let us assume they each get an equal share.

But first let us look at the total basic salaries and what percentage increase Council gave them on our behalf.

  • In the financial year 2017/2018 (1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018) they received an increase of 32% and in the current year we have given them 223%. (I remind you we gave our other workers 7%.) (How have we avoided a massive strike?)
  • Be that as it may, the total of R 18.336m translates to R 3.06m per person per annum as a basic salary. That is a very generous salary by any standard.
  • To put it in perspective, consider that the President’s salary for the financial year 2017/2018 was determined by legislation to be R 2.99m with a projected increase of between 6% and 8% for 2018/2019

That means our President earns between R 3.17m and R 3.23m this year as against our top-six’s R 3.06m each.  Very generous and quite adequate to cover all life’s normal expenses like housing, transport, communications, pension etc.

But, the generosity of the Plettenberg Bay residents and their councillors seemingly knows no bounds and all those pesky little expenses are taken care of by you, equally generously.

  • Pensions: Up by 229% from R975 000 to R 2.231m.
  • Medical Aid: Up by 227% from R302 000 to R686 000.
  • Car allowance: Up by 266% from R 1.233m to R 3.277m.
  • That equates to R 546 000 per annum; enough for a very nice brand new vehicle every year.
  • Cell phone allowance: Up by 153% from R372 000 to R 570 000.

Lest the comparatively stingy increase upsets you, let me point out that that amounts to a cool R 7 916 per person per month for a cell phone. The most expensive cell phone contract, which includes a top of the range Apple iPhone and unlimited calls and uncapped data costs R 2 899 per month from MTN and R 2 650 from Vodacom.

  • Housing allowance: Up by a stunning 854% from R13 000 to R111 000. (Despite the high percentage increase there is still room for improvement in generosity.)
  • Payment in lieu of leave: Up from zero to R536 000.
  • What motivates the residents of Plett to buy back time they have already paid for?
  • Post retirement benefits: Up from zero to R1.425m
  • Other benefits: (Just in case you forgot something) Static at R1.859m or roughly R300k per person.
  • In total your generosity to the Bitou Big Six cost you R 8.340m in 2016/17.

Then you increased it by 155% to R12.955m for the year 2017/18 and; now after another 223% increase you gave effective July 2018, you will pay them R29.028m for the financial year 2018/19.

An increase of 348% to bring the individual Total Remuneration Packages of the Bitou Big Six to just shy of R5m each.

CHECKS AND BALANCES.

Is it really possible for a council to be this generous with taxpayers’ money?

Are there no limits to what the Bitou Big Six can be paid?

The Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs determines the upper limits of the TOTAL remuneration packages payable to senior managers in municipal employ.

The latest, notice no. 1092, was published in Government Gazette no. 41173 on 10 October 2017, replacing Gov Gazette no. 40118 of 4 July 2016.

In order to determine the applicable limit to be applied from the supplied tables, municipalities are scored on Gross Municipal Income, Total Population and Equitable Share. Dependent upon their score they fall in one of ten categories each with a different maximum, the lowest being a grade 1 and the highest a grade 10.

The latest table requires that the Maximum Total Remuneration Package for Municipal Managers may not exceed:

  • R 3 732 849 for a Grade 10 Municipality and,
  • R 1 103 686 for a Grade 1 Municipality.

Likewise, the Maximum Total Remuneration Package for those managers reporting directly to him may not exceed:

  • R 2 986 279 for a Grade 10 Municipality and,
  • R   906 184 for a Grade 1 Municipality.

Without accurate figures available it is not possible to make a definite determination for Bitou municipality.

I suspect it is a grade 3.

Therefore, assuming Bitou Municipality is a Grade 3 municipality, the Maximum Total Remuneration Package for the Municipal Manager may not exceed R 1 279 762 and that of his managers (The other 5 of the Big Six) may not exceed R 1 046 101.

LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK – AND WHAT ABOUT THE POOR BURNING TYRES  FOR LACK OF  SERVICE DELIVERY BY THE BITOU MUNICIPALITY!!!

WE NEED YOUR MEMBERSHIP TO KEEP PUSHING BACK THE WAVE OF CORRUPTION.

JOIN THE RATE PAYERS TODAY FOR ONLY R185.00 P/year