Dear Corruption Watch
I keep reading about seemingly obscene salaries for civil servants. Is the pay, particularly for those of third-tier officials, regulated? Or are councils able to set salaries at whatever level they choose, seemingly without regard for responsibilities discharged?
There have been many changes this year with regard to the regulation of civil servant salaries in municipalities, specifically those of senior managers. These include municipal managers, acting municipal managers and all managers directly accountable to them.
Extensive regulations on the appointment and employment of senior managers were published on 17 January this year in terms of the Municipal Systems Act. These regulations cover many important aspects, such as the criteria for establishing management posts and detailed procedures and criteria for recruitment, selection and appointment. The regulations also provide for setting upper limits for the total remuneration package of senior managers by the minister. These were published in a government notice on 29 March and came into force on 1 July.
Municipalities will now fall into one of eight categories according to points allocated to the municipality on the basis of municipal income, salary and wage bills and local government equitable share (which relates to the share of government grants allocated to the municipality). The notice then sets criteria for and a minimum, midpoint and maximum remuneration package for municipal managers and other senior managers for each of the eight categories, with one being the lowest and eight the highest.
So, for example, a remuneration package based on the maximum amount within a specific category will require at least the relevant qualification, plus 10 years of local government or related experience and evidence of advanced competency, whereas a package based on the minimum amount will require less rigorous qualifications and experience.
The current limits set by the minister mean that a municipal manager's remuneration package can vary from R575 930 to R2 802 610 a year; the remuneration packages for other senior managers can vary from R466 040 to R1 653 740.
If you want to know more about these categories, points, salary limits and criteria, or perhaps want to see how the salary limits compare with the "obscene salaries" you mention, visit gpwonline.co.za and find Government Gazette 37500, or contact us at Corruption Watch on email@example.com.
Certain worrying aspects of these regulatory changes may still cause concern for you and other readers.
The notice provides for a "market premium allowance" of up to 20% of the annual remuneration package of a senior manager in situations where the municipality is unable to retain the services of suitably skilled people.
Also, the new regulatory framework with regard to salaries applies only to the appointment of senior managers from 1 July 2014 and can not influence existing contracts.
However, future appointments, including the possible reappointment of managers, must comply with these regulations and the notice.
These regulatory changes have perhaps not completely derailed the current municipal management gravy train, but they appear to have made catching that train or getting back on it more difficult.
• This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times