City beats abuse — over time

2013-08-02 00:00

LAZY Msunduzi municipal employees not working during office hours are to come under the spotlight now that overtime abuse is being brought under control.

Executive committee members heard yesterday that the municipality was winning the battle against excessive overtime claims.

One method being used was a system of pre-approval of overtime.

DA councillor Bill Lambert reminded fellow Exco members that it was massive overtime claims that had brought the council to its knees and ultimately into administration.

“We heard that in one instance a single bodyguard had received R42 000 in overtime pay in one month. It nearly made us fall out of our chairs,” he recalled.

DA councillor Mergan Chetty said the municipality was addressing overtime concerns and there was a need to look at punctuality and to ensure that staff were productive in the hours they were being paid for.

Mayor Chris Ndlela agreed that the need was to focus on standard working hours and assess whether council was getting value for money.

He said there was an urgency to inculcate a stronger work ethic among employees of the municipality, councillors included.

“We are working to leave a legacy, not for ourselves but for future generations,” Ndlela said.

The ANC’s Jabu Ngubo was unhappy that not enough was being done to curb overtime. She queried the status of the investigation that was looking into introducing a shift system for council. She felt this would go a long way to solve the problem.

The mayor disagreed with her, saying the Exco needed to appreciate that there was movement on the issue and “Rome was not built in a day”.

Deputy municipal manager for infrastructure Thokozani Maseko reminded council that shortly before the municipality went under administration the overtime budget for the year had been depleted in three months.

“There were no controls and even people who were working in offices were claiming overtime. We are becoming more efficient and we are using a number of different measures to bring down overtime,” he said.

He confirmed that the shift system was under consideration, and a cost feasibility study was being done.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said apart from pre-approval of overtime, additional checks were being implemented. When staff claim overtime, several records are checked, not just the supervisor’s.

As as example, he said the records of a driver transporting a team as well as the fleet management records are assessed — and must tally.

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