Exco gets the jitters about overtime

2013-04-19 00:00

MENTION the word “overtime” and Msunduzi executive committee (Exco) members become positively jittery.

Such was the case yesterday when an official in corporate services brought in a report about the need to pay overtime for certain posts earning above the threshold to qualify for overtime pay. She presented a list of 45 such posts.

Mayor Chris Ndlela quickly asked whether checks were in place to prevent a flood of overtime claims. He and Democratic Alliance councillor Bill Lambert reminded the meeting that it was excessive overtime claims that had brought the municipality to the brink of bankruptcy and led to it being placed under administration.

ANC member Jabu Ndlovu said that officials earning above a certain threshold should not be receiving overtime. She asked what had happened to Exco’s request that a shift system be introduced.

The deputy municipal manager for infrastructure services, Thokozani Maseko, said the management had identified three shifts, but in some instances it meant having to increase the number of posts threefold.

Then there were instances where only specialists could do the job — for example, technical staff who dealt with electricity failures. With the crumbling infrastructure and frequent outages, these specialists needed to work long hours.

Maseko said the request for special consideration for overtime for the 45 posts was not a random decision; it was in accordance with legislation.

It was also for work done in critical areas of water, electricity and community services.

Exco members finally agreed to the recommendation, saying that service delivery could not suffer, but they warned that there must be strict monitoring and that overtime pay must never be allowed to get out of control.

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