How much do municipal councillors earn?

The salaries of municipal councillors vary according to the size of their municipality (measured in terms of population and revenue) and whether or not their council position is full or part-time.

By Michael O’Donovan

Part-time councillors are able to hold down jobs other than that of councillor and the payments may simply top-up current income.

Almost eighty percent of councillors are employed on a part-time basis.

Full-time councillors currently earn between R482 000 and R878 000 a year.

Significant additional benefits accrue to councillors. These include a cellphone allowance of up to R2 039 a month for ordinary councillors. Councillors who are  appointed to other local government structures get an additional R962 for each day they sit with that structure.

Part time councillors earn approximately half that of full time councillors (between R207 000 and R441 000 a year).

Councillor salaries thus range from R17 000 to R73 000 a month (excluding other allowances).  There are slightly more than 9 000 councillors in local and district councils and their salary bill comes  to R3-billion a year. Despite the fact that almost 80% of positions are part-time  the average salary of a councillor is R27 000 a month.

Obviously there are advantages for councillors being appointed as mayor, speaker or as members of the executive committees. The salaries of mayors (again depending on the size of the municipality) range from R689 000 to R1.2 million a year. Salaries for full time councillors who are appointed to municipal executive committees range from R517 000 to R940 000 a year.

There appears to be some dissatisfaction with the remuneration of councillors. Last year the organisation that represents local government (SALGA) proposed that the salaries of councillors no longer be based on the size of the municipality and that they be placed on a par with that of MPs. Stating that the duties of MPS and local Councillors are similar SALGA propose that after the August election councillors should all earn R1.3-million a year.

This said the big money in municipalities is earned by those appointed municipal manager or chief financial officer. People in these position can earn two or three time that earned by the mayor.


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