DA commits to tackling long-standing KZN Izinduna issue – Francois Rodgers

PL says this includes back pay of R1.4bn, as well as future payments to be made through conditional grants

DA commits to tackling long-standing KZN Izinduna remuneration issue to ensure its conclusion

13 January 2022

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has committed to tackling the long-standing issue of remuneration of Izinduna in the province, including back pay of R1.4 billion, to ensure that it is correctly appropriated and expedited.

The pledge comes as KZN remains financially ham-strung when it comes to the payments. This despite five years having passed since its original introduction after then President Jacob Zuma enforced an unfunded mandate on the province to remunerate some 2 700 Izinduna at an average of R250 million annually.

While the DA in principle has never had a problem with this remuneration, we firmly believe that as an unfunded presidential mandate, the cost should be borne by National Treasury.

Further to this, a finite organogram should be concluded to determine the exact number of Izinduna and formal job descriptions with employment conditions. This must be formalized with the respective Izinduna.

The DA has since the inception of this unfunded mandate called on KZN’s ANC leadership to engage with their national counterparts to resolve this funding crisis. Regrettably, the standard response during this five-year period has been the same – that it is in the process of being discussed.

This is evidenced by KZN’s CoGTA MEC, Sipho Hlomuka’s comment yesterday during a briefing that; “It is being discussed by the presidents, provincial treasury and CoGTA. We are hoping we will get the response at the right time.”

The question is - how much longer does this need to be discussed when the solution is simple? National Treasury must accept responsibility for Zuma’s unfunded mandate. This must be effected through a conditional grant to allow for R1.4 billion in back pay while all future remuneration must also be made through conditional grants.

To date, KZN has contributed more than R1 billion in terms of remuneration. As a result, the province had to cut all provincial departmental budgets, including those in key areas such as Health, Education and CoGTA, to enable this expense.

Ultimately, it is the poorest of the poor in our province who will suffer most as a result of key service delivery departments that continue to be financially burdened by the funding of Izinduna.

With KZN having almost depleted its cash reserves and for the first time projecting a budget deficit, this situation cannot continue.

The casual attitude witnessed by the ANC in addressing this massive financial burden on our fiscus is unacceptable and the DA will now explore all avenues to ensure that this matter is concluded.

Issued by Francois Rodgers, Leader of the DA in KZN, 13 January 2022