Councillors to down tools

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 23 September 2020   |   By Emmanuel Kalize
Councillors to down tools

        Demand 6%, 10% salary increase

        MPs win big, get 10% car allowance

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        Cllrs hopeful Govt will consider them

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Over 500 Councillors around the country from across the political divide are furious over government’s decision to omit them from 6% and 10% salary increase given to civil servants and MPs.

Councillors have therefore threatened to bring local government business to a standstill starting next week if government does not address the omission as soon as possible. They argue that the decision is unfair and discriminatory on them.

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Following a 6% and 10% salary increases for public servants, Parliament on Thursday moved swiftly to approve 10% car allowance salary increase for back bench MPs that excludes cabinet ministers. The Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng proposed a hike through National Assembly (Salaries and Allowances) Amendment Bill of 2020.

Again last year MPs saw their constituency allowance increased hugely by 50% while their fixed communication and hospitality allowances went up by 10% something that irks Councillors too. Councillors are of the view that they understand that their remuneration doesn’t fall under public service but expect MPs to extend benefits to them when they are increasing salaries.

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In interview, Tlokweng Sub District Council Chairman Fido Mfolo said they were yet to receive their pay slips but said it is unfortunate if the councilors could be sidelined from any increment. “We are not aware of what is really happening about it because we expecting our pay slips to come in next week. We would look at what happens from next week,” Mfolo said briefly.

Gaborone City Council (GCC) Mayor Father Maphongo said councilors did not get any increment noting that the expectation is that next week government will address the ommission.

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Councilor Morapedi Kgosithebe for Dilolwe ward in Kanye North constituency also said the Southern District Councilors were shocked to not have received any signs of increment too. The UDC Councilor said it is not unfair for MPs to given green light on their demand for car allowance increment while the Councilors repeatedly called for same benefits but to no avail. “We are unhappy with the latest developments pertaining the MPs 10%car allowance hike. We would see if we can engage Council leadership because we haven’t heard from them,” he said.

The Patriot on Sunday also interviewed councillors in North West Ditrict Council (Ngamiland), Francistown, Kgalagadi, Kweneng and Kgatleng who expressed similar sentiments. The Councillors said they have assigned their Chairmen to immediately take up the issue with the minister as their circumstances are similar to Parliamentarians. The go-slow at different Local Authorities is expected to start next week if the minister of local government does not immediately correct the anomaly.

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The Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Setlhabelo Modukanele declined to comment on the issue after the efforts to reach Minister Eric Molale proved futile. “Talk to our Permanent Secretary on this issue. I cannot comment on the issue now,” he said.

Permanent Secretary Dr Themba Mmusi’s mobile phone was also not available at press time. Minister Morwaeng said 10% car allowance increment for MPs said it meant for allowing them to purchase to buy vehicles that could enable them to traverse their constituencies effectively.

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Ngamiland MP Carter Hikuama caused a stir by other MPs when differed that he is against increment saying there should be an independent committee that review perks of politicians. To this end, MPs moved swiftly with one voice leaving parliament late on Thursday night ensuring that the bill passed as matter of urgency hence would be all smiling to the bank.

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BAKANG TIRO

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