Coun­cil­lors set to score

Metro pledges to cover spouses’ funeral ex­penses

Sowetan - - News - By Mamela Ndamase

Buf­falo City Metro will pay R35,000 to­wards funeral costs of spouses of its coun­cil­lors and tra­di­tional lead­ers to help ease the bur­den.

The “con­tri­bu­tion” be­came ef­fec­tive from May last year af­ter coun­cil amended its funeral pol­icy for coun­cil­lors and tra­di­tional lead­ers. There are 100 coun­cil­lors and 20 tra­di­tional lead­ers in the coun­cil and each qual­ify to get a R50,000 con­tri­bu­tion to­wards their own fu­ner­als. Coun­cil speaker Al­fred Mtsi said the spouses had to be in­cluded as it be­came a “bur­den” for sur­viv­ing part­ners to bury them.

“Politi­cians al­ways at­tract big crowds, their lives are not like or­di­nary peo­ple. “When their spouses or part­ners die, large num­bers want to sup­port them and then it be­comes a bur­den to the af­fected peo­ple to bury them.

“The costs be­come too much. It was in that spirit that the coun­cil­lors felt that the pol­icy, which was silent on spouses, should be amended,” said Mtsi.

Tra­di­tional lead­ers were in­cluded de­spite not hav­ing vot­ing pow­ers in coun­cil. They earn a R5,000 monthly stipend.

Asked why the tra­di­tional lead­ers were catered for in the clause de­spite not hav­ing vot­ing power in the coun­cil, Mtsi said: “We treat each other as equals as much as there are dif­fer­ences.

“They are still re­garded as tra­di­tional coun­cil­lors. They are ser­vants of the pub­lic too,” said Mtsi.

The amend­ment was ini­tially dis­cussed in 2017 dur­ing a work­shop where coun­cil­lors fought for their spouses to be “recog­nised”.

The coun­cil­lors also wanted the metro to con­trib­ute to­wards the fu­ner­als of for­mer coun­cil­lors, how­ever, that was re­jected by the metro’s le­gal depart­ment, which said such a move would go against the Mu­nic­i­pal Finance Man­age­ment Act.

“Dur­ing the work­shop in 2017, it was dis­cussed and agreed that a con­tri­bu­tion of R35,000 be made in the event of the pass­ing of the first spouse of a coun­cil­lor or tra­di­tional leader,” said Mtsi. ANC ward 11 coun­cil­lor Mash­waba da Gcil­ishe said: “The spouse should not only mean the hus­band and the wife, but it must also mean a life part­ner such that those who are not priv­i­leged as I am are able to reap the ben­e­fits.” An­other ANC ward coun­cil­lor, Crosby Kolela, sup­ported the R35,000 amount. How­ever, he cau­tioned against the life part­ner clause, say­ing they should be reg­is­tered at the speaker’s of­fice to avoid prob­lems in the event of death.

“The prob­lem we are go­ing to en­counter is the fact that to­day a life part­ner will die un­reg­is­tered, next week an­other life part­ner will die so there must be only one life part­ner. “If you change your life part­ner, go and reg­is­ter again and say you are chang­ing your life part­ner. Oth­er­wise we’ll have a prob­lem,” said Kolela.

‘ ‘ Politi­cians at­tract big crowds, their lives are not like or­di­nary peo­ple

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.