Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Robbing the poor to pay the chiefs

Provinces are going to need to find an additional R100 million a year to pay traditional chiefs and headmen, and the money is likely to come from existing budgets in infrastructure and poverty reduction projects.

The recommendation of the independent Commission for Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, decided yesterday to standardise the salaries of the country's more than 5000 headmen to pay a flat annual salary of R84125. It has been determined that traditional leaders' salaries will be increased by 28.4%. Recent public sector wage negotiations agreed to a 7% increase for government workers.

Political analyst Nic Borain believes it is impossible not to consider that increasing the salaries of traditional leaders is politically motivated, especially ahead of local government elections next year. "Zuma is trying to nail down the rural support, and the system of patronage is the way he is doing it, spreading this patronage to the chiefs." 

Political analyst Protas Madlala said the timing of the salary increase for headmen and women was perfect for the local government elections, “Ultimately this salary increase is to buy votes...”

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