Msunduzi battling to fill priority posts

2008-02-03 00:00

Msunduzi Municipality is experiencing an exodus of qualified staff and are having difficulty filling vacant and priority posts.

The Infrastructure, Service and Facilities (IS&F) unit, which has been hardest hit by the exodus, is in the process of filling 83 posts, including construction and reconstruction,

electricity and water and sanitation process managers.

In October 2007, the IS&F business unit had 1 843 posts, of which 826 were vacant. From July to September 2007, the IS&F business unit lost four technicians, two engineers and 24 general workers.

Council’s 2007/08 financial mid-year review revealed that more funds are being spent on overtime pay than on employing more staff. The review reflects an under-expenditure of R7,3 million on vacant posts, as R9,9 million was reserved for vacant posts and R2,8 million for priority posts, which has not been fully spent.

"This suggests that we need to fill posts urgently and systematically to reduce overtime in the remainder of the year," said strategic executive finance manager Roy Bridgmohan. He said overtime expenditure for the next six months will be capped to R12,7 million.

Municipal manager Rob Haswell said that council should be mindful that a cut in overtime expenditure could lead to service delivery being affected. He said that with all the municipality’s current crises of poor waste management services, poor infrastructure and service delivery and the effects of load shedding, the municipality will have to live with slightly higher overtime expenditure than council would like to see.

"We can’t have our waste department functioning with only five vehicles and not expect to overspend on overtime, but overtime expenditure is an issue of great concern," said Haswell.

The report also shows that the municipality has been able to spend only R50 million or 17,6% of a capital budget of R288 million.

Executive council member Themba Zungu suggested that strategic executive managers and process managers be removed to allow council to employ "A" and "D" band employees who do most of the work.

"SEMs and process managers, [with the exception of one or two] receive huge salary packages, but we do not see what they do for council so we should beef up on professionals at lower levels and remove those who empower themselves," said Zungu.

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