Local Government Association comes to its senses – at last
If reports this week are true—and the source suggests they are – then after decades of accepting inflation-beating pay increases for all municipalities, as though one size could fit both large and small ones, the South African Local Government Association (Salga) has finally recognised the obvious. It doesn’t.
In a move that stuns those in the private sector who have warned of the fiscal stupidity of this notion for decades, Salga has begged the Bargaining Council for municipal employees to award 0% increases in the forthcoming year.
In words befitting the newly-converted, Salga’s letter to the Council proposes a three-year wage deal with an option for each party (the 257 municipalities) to “opt-out” based on what are reported to be “extraordinary and unforeseen circumstances”.
That leaves some wiggle room on the face of it but an encouraging note is that Salga proposes a 2.8% wage increase for 2022-23.
We can expect discord in some municipalities, especially those that have regularly accepted pay increases their towns and villages could not afford, leading to repeated warnings from the Auditor General and a catastrophic decline in their basic municipal services.
That it has taken so long for Salga to take a stand against what amounts to blatant theft is to its deep and abiding shame. Most dishonourable of all is the behaviour of better-run local governments like Cape Town, whose management should have known better.