South Africa: EFF and City of Ekurhuleni Respond to Ramaphosa's Call for Salary Cuts to Help in COVID-19 Fight

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) as well as Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina have quickly answered the call by President Cyril Ramaphosa to take pay cuts to contribute to the Solidarity Fund - aimed at acquiring resources to help combat the scourge of the novel coronavirus.

In a statement shortly after the president announced that the lockdown would be extended for an additional two weeks, the EFF said all its public representatives - including MPs, MPLs and councillors - would contribute a third of their salaries to the fund.

"In this regard, the mandatory party levy deducted from our public representatives will not be deducted in the period where we will be contributing a third of our salaries to the Solidarity Fund. Our public representatives will continue to closely monitor all spheres of government against all forms of corruption and violation of procurement laws and regulations," the statement read.

Meanwhile Masina said he would be donating 33% of his monthly salary over the next three months. Senior Ekurhuleni officials including the city manager, chief financial officer and members of the mayoral committee, Speaker and Chief Whip would donate between 15% and 33% of their salaries.

The mayor said discussions were underway for department heads to donate 25% and divisional heads 12.5% over the same period.

Ramaphosa announced on Thursday night during an address to the nation that he, together with his cabinet, deputy ministers and premiers, would take a one-third cut in their salaries for the next three months, which would be donated to the Solidarity Fund.The fund has so far raised around R2.2 billion, with half of that already allocated to buying sterile gloves, face shields, surgical masks, test kits and ventilators, he said.

"It will also allocate funds for humanitarian relief to vulnerable households, in addition to the R400m set aside by government for Social Relief of Distress grants. We are calling on other public office bearers and executives of large companies to make a similar gesture and to further increase the reach of this national effort," he said.

Several governments have already made salary adjustments to aid their economies during the lockdown. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, African presidents including Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari, Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Malawi's Peter Mutharika together with their Cabinets have each taken salary cuts.

While the EFF welcomed the extension of the lockdown, the party questioned if government had taken adequate measures to mitigate against the economic and subsistence consequences on ordinary people.

The red berets called on government to impose an interest-free payment holiday for three months for all people who cannot afford to make the monthly payments due to the lockdown.

"The president and Covid-19 Command Council are tip-toeing around the financial services sector and are afraid to provide decisive and clear direction that will insulate our people from the economic jeopardy of further exclusion and repossession of their vehicles, businesses and houses. This points to the reality that the financial services sector, particularly banks, have disproportionate political control of the elected government," the party said.

Source: News24

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