End of the municipal free rides

2010-04-24 00:00

MSUNDUZI administrator Johann Mettler has clamped down on the abuse of municipal vehicles.

Weekend Witness is in possession of an internal memo written by Mettler that outlines a new set of rules that all municipal employees must abide by in the light of the rampant abuse of municipal vehicles.

Dated April 16, Mettler’s memo states the following:

• With immediate effect, no staff member will be allowed to use a municipal vehicle outside of their normal working hours.

• Employees are no longer allowed to take municipal vehicles home.

• All municipal vehicles must be parked in safe and proper depots.

• It is up to managers to make sure that municipal vehicles are kept safely and securely.

The rules also apply to vehicles rented by the municipality.

Mettler confirmed he had issued the memo, saying the “lawlessness obviously extends to the abuse of council property of any sort”.

He said he had discovered that employees are booking municipal vehicles for use at weekends and their managers and supervisors are allowing it.

“I am putting a stop to it,” said Mettler.

He said he is still dealing with cases of employees who owe the municipality money and gave the example of an employee in the traffic department who owes R80 000 in outstanding service charges.

Another employee has yet to settle an outstanding rates bill of R100 000, while a manager ran up a cellphone account of about R26 000 between July last year and February this year.

“This money was never recovered and people are now saying that they didn’t get accounts or invoices. But they never asked.

“It’s only now that people are getting invoices [that have been allowed to accumulate for months] of what they’re owing.

“We need to change the entire system,” said Mettler.

Yesterday The Witness reported that ANC councillors were called to a party meeting on Wednesday and told that they may not receive their salaries this month as there is no money to pay them.

Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr was quoted as saying non-payment is a possibility, but that the councillors will be paid if the municipality recovers some of its outstanding debts.

Asked about the situation, Mettler said councillors will receive only their basic salaries this month.

HOT on the heels of his decision to place senior municipal managers on special leave comes the news that Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler has already appointed acting managers in their place.

Thokozani Maseko who has been the acting deputy municipal manager for infrastructure services since January this year has now officially been appointed as the new acting municipal manager in place of Kevin Perumal.

Council lawyer Kass Thaver will continue to act in Perumal’s post of DMM for human resources and corporate services.

Chief financial officer Roy Bridgmohan has made way for Mahen Sahibdeen to act in his place and Dr Nomasonto Nkosi will act in the place of DMM for community services Zwe Hulane.

Francis Gratham’s post as procurement manager will now be acted by Rex Singh.

KZN provincial ANC secretary Sihle Zikalala issued a statement saying the party supported Mettler and urged him to “act quickly to suspend those implicated, press charges, ...initiate disciplinary steps... and fire those who deserved to be fired.”

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