Councillors refuse speaker’s trip, get ‘punished’ with salary deductions

Dihlabeng municipality, eastern Free State. Picture: Facebook

Dihlabeng municipality, eastern Free State. Picture: Facebook

Councillors of Dihlabeng Municipality in the Free State refused to sanction an overseas trip, after which they were notified of 15% salary deductions.

Amid allegations that the Dihlabeng Municipality speaker, Davis Lengoabala of the ANC, sanctioned deductions of 15% from the salaries of opposition councillors, the DA said they would take the matter to court and make sure the municipality covered their legal fees when they lose.

According to DA Dihlabeng Municipality councillor Eric Motloung, these allegations come after the municipal councillors refused to support Lengoabala’s request to go to Switzerland and Portugal for an international trip with a delegation that included his daughter, mayor Lindiwe Makhalema and the director and manager of the municipality’s local economic development department for development training and to seek out investors.

Motloung said the councillors belonging to opposition parties and 13 ANC councillors refused to vote in support of the trip because the reasons behind it were not strong enough.

This was then followed by the receipt of letters addressed to each councillor individually, to inform them of the 15% pay cheque deduction.

According to Motloung, Lengoabala claimed the delegation would visit a winery factory, a shoe factory and observe the agricultural developments in these countries.

He said the councillors had argued that the delegation could have done that in South Africa where there were several wineries and shoe factories to learn from and that looking for international investors was the job of the national government and not the municipality.

He said the municipality owed millions to various public entities and that similar international trips that the previous mayor had gone on had produced no results, further informing their opposition to the request.

Motloung said they were waiting for the end of the week when their salaries were paid to see if Lengoabala had stayed true to his word and deducted the money. He said the DA would then launch a class action law suit against the municipality.

Attempts to reach Lengoabala were unsuccessful, while the municipality also couldn’t be reached for comment.

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