Wednesday, 15 April 2020

EFF COUNCILLORS OPPOSE DOCKING OF SALARIES FOR CORONA FUND


EFF leader Julius Malema has angered some councilors who expressed dissatisfaction with the decision to dock 33% of their salaries to contribute to the fight against coronavirus.

Some EFF councillors in Limpopo who are opposed to the move said the gesture by the party leadership will set them back financially and effectively make them poor.

In WhatsApp messages, which Sowetan has seen, the councillors said the party was drying up their salaries as they were also made to "buy bakkies" for the red berets.

The councillors asked for their names to be witheld for fear of reprisal.

Malema announced last week that the party had decided to contribute 33% of all its public representative salaries to the government's Solidarity Fund for the next three months.

This affects the party's members of parliament, provincial legislature and its 827 councillors in 221 municipal councils.

But a group of EFF councillors from a local municipality in Limpopo are revolting against the decision, saying they were not consulted before an announcement was made publicly.

In the WhatsApp messages, some of them said they would be raising their concerns with the party as they believe "this matter must be debated" as they were not consulted.

"It's going to be rough, you see this guy [Malema] wants us to pay to his account for three months," said one councillor.

Another councillor wrote, "just imagine you go home with a net salary of R12,000 then deduction of R8,000 for [the] bakkie then you [are] left with R4,000 for other deductions [and then] you [are] left with nothing."

Another message read: "R4,000 then car must also be paid? Other deductions [as well] then is a crs [serious] disaster. I don't know even how much is gonna be. Many councillors are crying, calling me. I can't do anything".
The EFF councillors in the local municipality in question said they earn a gross salary of around R25,000. They said the move will drag them into poverty.

According to one of the councillors who spoke on condition of anonymity, a R2,500 party levy that they usually pay has been put on hold. He said life would be more difficult to take care of their families.

"I'm already paying for a bakkie for 6k [R6,000] which is a must have and that 33% is going to finish me. I'm going to be left with nothing. My gross is R25k and take home is about R10k now that 33% is going to take over R7k," said the councillor.

The councillor added that he received lots of calls from the concerned councillors who became aware of the amount they have to pay for three months.

"Councillors are not refusing to contribute, but the percentage is too high for us. If you raise this issue you will be told it is not our money," he said.

Sowetan understands that the decision was made by the party's war council which meets at least once a week after which it was communicated to municipalities.

A letter dated April 10, which Sowetan has seen, sent by the party's treasurer Omphile Maotwe to speakers in municipalities, directs that the monthly party levy be suspended and replaced with the 33% contribution for the next three months.

According to the letter, contribution would be deducted from the gross salaries of councillors by the municipalities and sent to an already existing party levy bank account.

"These monies will then be collected and deposited by the EFF into the Soli-darity Fund as a lump sum at the end of each month. This directive is effective immediately and will last for the next three (3) months," the letter reads. Sowetan

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