In light of the on-going protracted discourse about the above mentioned subject within the municipality and beyond it is important to set the record straight.
The Rustenburg municipality has been gripped by palpable tensions particularly in the aftermath of a general meeting of SAMWU members held on the 16th /10 /2017. During this highly charged meeting employees resolved to embark on an illegal strike in order to ensure that their salaries are adjusted to resemble the scales applicable in Metropolitan areas. What is the basis of this demand and what has precipitated it?
In April 2017 the Rustenburg Local Council considered a report titled “ Determination of Upper Limits of Salaries , Allowances and Benefits of Different Members of Municipal Councils”
This report was prompted by a Notice made by the Minister of COGTA, Honourable Minister Van Rooyen dated 03 April 2017 on implementation of Upper Limits of salaries , allowances and benefits of different members of Municipal Councils. In considering this notice it became apparent that the revised formula which is applied to determine the grading of municipalities for purposes of determining renumeration of Municipal Councillors places Rustenburg at Grade 6. This is the same grading applicable in all Metropolitan Municipalities. The Rustenburg Local Council having soberly considered the financial implications of adjusting the renumeration of Councillors to Grade 6 resolved to restrict it to Grade 5. The financial implications for the year 2016/17 would have amounted to a whopping R17 million for which no provision was made in the budget.
The first important matter to clarify at this juncture is whether the Determination my by Honourable Minister Van ROOYEN on the 3rd April 2017 implies that Rustenburg Municipality is now a category A municipality commonly refered to as a Metropolitan municipality.
- The Local Government Structures Act no 117 of 1998 Chapter I defines the categories of municipalities( A, B and C) in terms section 155 of the Constitution of the Republic
- Section 4(2) of the Municipal Systems Act prescribes that ‘ The Dermacation Board may determine that an area must have a category A municipality only after consultation with the Minister , the MEC for local government in the province concerned and SALGA.
- Section 12 of the Municipal Structures Act deals with how municipalities are established. In terms of this section the MEC of Local Government must issue a notice on the establishment of all municipalities in the province. Sub section 12(3)(a)(b)the dictates as follows” The notice establishing the municipality must set out the category of municipality as well as the type of municipality.
For the record Rustenburg has been established as a category B municipality with a mayoral executive system and a ward participatory system
- Section 16 of the Municipal Structures Act titled Ámendment of section 12 Notice provides that” The MEC for Local Government in a Province by notice in the Provincial Gazette may amend a section 12 Notice to change from its existing type to another type
- From the above it is clear that only the Demarcation Board is empowered in legislation to declare Rustenburg a Categoty A municipality ( A metro). Once this determination is made after thorough consultation especially with residents the MEC will thereafter through a Public notice amend the Section 12 Notice . In the recent past a proposal was made to the Dermacation Board by the former Minister of Cogta Mr Pravin Gordam to amalgamate Rustenburg and Kgetleng Rivier Municipalities thereby creating a new Metropolitan City. The Dermacation Board initiated an extensive public participation process but the entire proposal was abandoned at a later stage.
- The Determination of Upper Limits of Members of Municipal Councils by the Minister of Cogta by way of Notice made on the 3rd April 2017 which places Rustenburg in Category 6 ( not in Category A as defined in the Constitution and Municipal Structures Act)) was made in terms of Renumeration of Public Office Bearers Act of 1998. The Act was enacted to provide for a framework for determining the salaries and allowances of Premiers, members of Executive Councils, members of Provincial Legislatures and members of Municipal Councils.
- Special attention is hereby drawn to section 7(1) of the Act mentioned in paragraph 6 above which empowers the Minister to make a determination of salaries and allowances of members of Municipal Councils. Nowhere in this Act is there provision for the Minister of COGTA to determine the categorisation of municipalities or the declaration of any municipality to be a Metropolitan type
- It follows from the above that none of the legislative requirements for Rustenburg to be declared a Category A municipality commonly referred to a Metro are in place. Neither the Minister of Cogta nor the Rustenburg Municipal Council can make this determination. Category 6 as per the Ministerial determination exclusively relates to the remuneration of Municipal Councillors( Distinction being drawn between Municipal Council—consisting of duly elected Councillors and a Municipality)
The financial implications of becoming a metro will be dealt with at a later stage. Any payment of salaries of employees at the level of a metropolitan municipality prior to the Demarcation Board declaring Rustenburg as such will not only be grossly illegal but immediately warrant criminal proceedings against all responsible. This will also trigger immediate intervention by both the Provincial and National Governments.
In conclusion it is important to state that the vision of the Political and Administrative leadership of Rustenburg is for the municipality to be declared a Metropolitan City. A road map in this regard will be presented to the next Council sitting. It will entail extensive consultations that will take place internally as well as with the Provincial and National Governments and critically with the Demarcation Board.
Clr Mpho Khunou