Hoax: ‘ghost’ suspected

2014-03-26 00:00

GHOSTBUSTERS have been hard at work at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall this week.

But, they were not hunting out shadowy figures of the past, they were there to sniff out present day ghost employees.

For the past couple of days, queues of municipal employees have been trooping into the city hall with their ID books and pay slips to undergo a verification process to prove that they do indeed exist and confirm in which sections they were employed.

But Monday’s proceedings went haywire when a bomb-scare resulted in the city hall having to be evacuated.

Councillor Bill Lambert, who was present during the episode, described what happened. He said city hall staff and the queues of people waiting to be verified had to scramble out of the historic red brick building. Lambert was reluctant to leave but was persuaded that he had to follow the drill.

However, he remains convinced that the hoax was perpetrated by somebody, who could turn out to be a ghost employee and whose interest would be served by messing up the process.

According to Lambert, the verification system was introduced by Johann Mettler in 2010, when the municipality was placed under administration.

Lambert recalled that ghost employees were found at that time.

He said he was glad it was being conducted again.

“I really believe it should happen every year and, mark my words, we are going to find ghosts this time around as well,” Lambert said.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Madeleine Jackson-Plaatjies said the verification process was an internal exercise that the municipality would conduct on an annual basis to identify, among others, ghost employees, absenteeism and abscondments.

“This is done as part of the administrations’s efforts to root out any form of maladministration and fraud within the municipality,” she added.

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