COUNCILLORS from various local authorities have demanded similar allowances paid to mayors and deputy mayors, arguing there was no justification in paying them less as they performed almost similar duties.
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
The UCAZ members claimed that in April this year, Local Government minister July Moyo proposed to hike metropolitan mayors’ allowances to $2 000, deputy mayors
$1 200, committee chairpersons $950 and $900 for councillors.
Under the proposed new allowance regime, an ordinary city mayor will now get $1 600, deputy $960, committee chairperson $720 and councillor $675, while in municipalities leaders will get $1 400, the deputy $840, committee chairperson $630 and $590 for councillors.
Town mayors will pocket $1 200, $720 for deputies, $540 for committee chairperson and $510 respectively for councillors.
Local board mayors’ allowances were pegged at $1 000, $600 for the vice, $450 for the chairperson and $425 for the councillor.
However, this was objected to by the councillors, who described the proposed structure as discriminatory.
“What exactly did you consider to come up with these figures, where you find that the mayor will be paid more than double of what we will be getting?” a Masvingo councillor asked.
“What is it that mayors are doing different from the rest of us to the extent that he gets $2 000 and I pocket $850? We want to know the criteria that you were using before we adopt this.”
A Chiredzi councillor, only identified as Mlambo, said: “Firstly, I would like to second what my colleagues have said.
More favour is given to the mayors. In item 2.6.2 on [out of] pocket allowances for councillors, the money is pegged at less than $100, while on entertainment allowances for the mayors, Harare will be allocated
$24 000, Bulawayo $21 000, cities $18 000, municipalities $15 000 while local boards and councils will get $12 000.
This shows that mayors are more favoured.”
Shurugwi councillor and UCAZ deputy president Tsungai Makore defended the structure, saying they used regional benchmarks to come up with the review proposal.
“We considered the regional benchmarks. That was our starting point in trying to reflect on what mayors and councillors within the region and outside do get because everything that you present to the parent ministry had to have proper justification. I want to implore to the delegates that this is a process … On entertainment allowances, it is not for mayor’s pockets, it is for representatives of mayor’s office and that includes councillors. So this is a pocket that you have and you use when you have visitors who have come from abroad to allow you to entertain them without having to take from other budgets,” Makore said.
UCAZ president Bernard Manyenyeni said it was prudent for a mayor to get $2 000 as he performed more duties than those of legislators.
It was resolved that those who were dissatisfied with the proposed hike should approach the parent ministry.
Speaking to Southern Eye on the sidelines of the meeting, Manyenyeni blasted the councillors, saying they were only after money rather than service delivery.