KwaZulu-Natal indunas have agreed to shelve plans to disrupt this year’s local government elections over the government’s failure to increase their salaries following a meeting with President Jacob Zuma on Sunday.
“The president assured us that the matter will be given priority – we then agreed to withdraw our threats to disrupt the elections,” chairperson of KZN indunas Vusumzi Mthethwa said.
The indunas, who are at loggerheads with the provincial government after the latter had failed to pay them in line with recommendations by the Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, are paid R1300 a month as opposed to the R7000 a month recommended by the commission.
In Sunday’s meeting, also attended by KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu and local government MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the indunas were told the provincial government had not implemented the new salary scales due to budgetary constraints.
“The president told us that he would try everything in his power to make the funds available,” Mthethwa said.
“The president said it could happen in the next few months.”
The presidency confirmed that Zuma had also agreed to assist in the fast-tracking of the relevant legislation that would see indunas getting what was due to them.
“The meeting also reiterated the need for a legislative review to ensure uniform national standards in the way traditional institutions and their representatives are recognised and supported by the democratically elected government,” the presidency said.
Mthethwa said the induna leadership – which wants headmen in the province to be back paid from 2006 when the new salaries were proclaimed – would call a meeting where the traditional leaders would be officially informed of the outcome of the meeting with Zuma.
“We would inform them that they now need to encourage their subjects to vote as we are satisfied with the president’s commitment,” he said.