Is the ANC using traditional leaders’ salary increases to buy loyalty?

Analysts have questioned the timing of the increase of traditional leaders salaries, considering that local government elections are just around the corner

While opposition parties are focused on Nkandla, the ruling party is gearing up the big guns.

Yesterday it was revealed that President Jacob Zuma had increased salaries of headmen and women by 28,4%.

Zuma was using recommendations made by the Independent Commission for Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, which determined that the government should pay headmen and women a salary of R84 125 annually.

While the news of the increase might be good news for the country’s over-5 000 headmen and women, it’s certainly not good news for taxpayers, as the Department of Traditional Affairs will need an extra R100 million to go towards these salaries.

And it’s even worse news for the poor, as political analyst Nic Borain believes that the money might have to be taken from poverty alleviation funds. “Provinces just don’t have the money, so they are going to need to look at where they can take it from,” Borain told Times Live. “If that money that is being used to buy the votes of traditional leaders is going to be at the expense of poverty relief, that’s scandalous and an outrage.”

READ MORE: Zuma increase traditional leaders salaries

Borain also believes that the move to increase the salaries of headmen and women is a campaign for the ANC in an attempt to buy traditional leaders’ loyalty. Rand Daily Mail reported on Monday that the poorest provinces would suffer the most and will have to look for money from other departments, as they do not have enough funds to put towards the salary increases.

READ MORE: Why are traditional leaders millions of rands 

Speaking to DESTINY during a previous interview, political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi said opposition parties would not let go of the Nkandla issue, as they plan to use it for campaigns during the upcoming elections.

Political analyst Protas Madlala told Times Live that the ANC’s timing of the salary increase was suspicious, considering that the local government elections are taking place next year. “One needs to ask where this bottomless pit of money is coming from when the country’s fiscus is already drained? Ultimately, these salary increases are to buy votes, but at what cost? And that’s my biggest worry,” said Madlala.

Source: Times Live, Rand Daily Mail