Tshwane City manager accused of proposing salary increase before council approval

Johann Mettler, Tshwane city manager.

Johann Mettler, Tshwane city manager.

Published Feb 23, 2024


Tshwane City manager Johann Mettler has been accused of having made a salary increase proposal to labour unions during the negotiations facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) without prior authorisation from council.

Parties entered into negotiations mediated by the CCMA following last year’s crippling municipal strike led by the South African Municipal Workers Union over wage increases.

Mettler, who was authorised by council to lead wage talks on behalf of the municipality, has been accused by the Republican Conference of Tshwane’s councillor Lex Middelberg of having overstepped his mandate.

This was after Mettler penned a letter to the CCMA, proposing a salary increase of 5.4% for the 2023/2024 financial year to labour unions.

The offer was, however, made on condition that the City achieves the revenue collection target of R4.4 billion in aggregate for the months of February, March, April, May, June and July 2024.

“If these targets are met, the City agrees to a salary increase of 5.4% effective from January 1, 2024,” according to Mettler’s letter.

He said in the event that the City would fail to achieve the revenue collection target, then salary increases would not be implemented.

Parties would then have to revert to the exemption review processes, currently pending before the Labour Court, he said.

Mettler’s proposal stated that the settlement offer to labour unions was “subject to approval by the municipal council”.

But, Middelberg believes Mettler had gone behind the council’s back in proposing salary increases to workers’ unions.

“You have no delegated authority to make this proposal. If you feel you have, please refer me to the clause in the (lapsed) system of delegations that empower you to make this offer without first obtaining a mandate on the issue from council,” Middelberg said in a letter to Mettler.

He said while council may have authorised negotiations, it did not authorise any framework for a proposed settlement with the unions.

“The manner in which you present a final offer with very specific terms to press-gang one solution only, is clearly designed to pre-empt council’s authority and right to consider a different solution and you seem to operate on the basis that council is merely your rubber stamp,”he said.

He called on Mettler to withdraw the unauthorised offer and draft a report to council concerning the course of negotiations to date.

The report must also advise the council of all options discussed and rejected on both sides of the negotiations, including analysis of all the remaining options.

Middelberg has also written a letter to council speaker Mncedi Ndzwanana, expressing concern about “the usurpation of council’s authority by the municipal manager”.

“We strongly object against this unwarrantable, dictatorial usurpation of council’s authority,” he said.

He requested Ndzwanana to call on Mettler to withdraw his “unauthorised offer” and to urgently table a status report in council.

Contacted for comment, City spokesperson Selby Bokaba said: “The City of Tshwane’s position is that we don’t respond to private correspondence.”

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