Mettler busts ghosts

2010-05-18 00:00

GHOST employees who have been coining it at the Msunduzi Municipality’s expense are in for a rude awakening come payday next week.

This after the adoption of a bold new plan that is set to separate the fake from real municipal workers.

The Witness is in possession of an internal circular dated May 11 in which all staff are told that no salaries will be paid electronically this month, because of the need to “verify the existing staff against those appearing on the payroll”.

Signed by Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler and acting municipal manager Thokozani Maseko, the circular requests that all employees present themselves with the necessary documentation, at the city hall next Monday, to collect their salaries, which will be given to them by cheque.

The Witness understands that those who do not collect their cheques will be taken off the payroll system, as this means that they are ghost employees.

The Witness also has a copy of minutes dated April 28 that asks all municipal staff to submit a form bearing updated personal details, with a copy of an identity document and their latest municipal services account.

These documents, along with an official pay slip and an original identity document, are what all municipal workers will be required to present during Msunduzi’s employee verification process at the city hall today, tomorrow and Thursday, states an internal circular dated May 14.

“[Each municipal department has] been allocated specific days on the schedule attached. Kindly ensure that you attend on those respective times and dates,” says the circular. It adds that the three-day verification pro­cess is one of the exercises that will help the municipality flush out ghost employees.

Asked what had led him to suspect that there are ghost municipal workers, Mettler said he and his team have come across many staff members who have been working for the municipality outside formal structures, and in many cases they “couldn’t ascertain what certain people were doing”.

He said some employees were claiming payment from units that do not exist in the municipality and they are actually being paid.

Mettler said they also discovered some odd appointment practices, “where people were just appointed” and there were occasions where some people were paid in cash.

“The control mechanisms that were in place did not give us a sense of comfort that all was well. We have come across many devious practices, so it’s in the best interest of the municipality to make sure that people exist and are being paid accordingly,” he said.

Mettler said identified ghost employees will certainly be taken off the system immediately. “[We will] then investigate how they got on the system, why they remained on the system, which manager was responsible … and the manager that allowed them to remain on the system.

“Any [financial] loss that the municipality suffered will have to be reco­vered form those responsible. If people were paid and they were … not working for the municipality, then they’ll have to pay that money back.”

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