Msunduzi probes fitness for posts

2010-05-21 00:00

A MAJOR shake-up is under way at the Msunduzi Municipality.

The Witness has been informed that as part of Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler’s turn-around strategy, one of the priorities at the moment is to find out whether Msunduzi managers have the necessary qualifications and experience for the positions they hold.

Some managers who come from a teaching background are holding senior management positions, and their names are known to The Witness.

For instance, one manager was a teacher at primary school level, but is now in charge of a municipal division that has a staff complement of more than 500.

The Witness has learnt that in the municipality’s finance division there are people who have been placed in highly skilled posts without the essential qualifications.

For example, one manager tasked with the collection of money from debtors is not skilled for that job but holds a qualification in manufacturing.

The Witness also understands that people with economics and accounting qualifications are in lower-end positions when they could be used more effectively in the implementation of the turnaround strategy.

Some employees got their positions through their affiliation to unions.

Others went from being ordinary councillors to holding key posts, although their qualifications are questionable.

Insiders said the drive to reassess people’s skills will be rolled out throughout the municipality.

Specially targeted will be those who are largely office-based and those who are “under-employed”. They are likely to be moved to posts that are more commensurate with their qualifications and experience.

The Witness understands that an entirely new municipal structure will be put in place by the end of June and the number of managers and deputy municipal managers is likely to be reduced.

Allegations of the “jobs for pals” practice have been doing the rounds in the municipality for years.

Some insiders allege there are instances where unsuitably qualified people have been hired on the basis that they must pay those who helped them get the job a certain percentage of their monthly salary.

The re-evaluation of qualifications comes one month after The Witness reported that Mettler and his team uncovered the following problems at the municipality’s human resources department:

• The unavailability of records relating to professional qualifications

• The absence of recruitment, performance management and appointment practices

• The failure to align salary structures with grading levels

Asked for comment, acting municipal manager Thokozani Maseko said: “We can’t comment at this stage because the process has not started.”

However, Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr said the re-assessing of qualifications is “exactly what the national minister is telling us to do”.

Tarr said the minister also called for the signing of performance contracts as well as the appointment of key staff.

He said Mettler and his team are trying to create a flatter structure in the municipality, so it is “inevitable that there will be new job descriptions for posts.

He went on to say: “We won’t fire people and reduce salaries.

“[Workers] will be fitted in somewhere or retrained according to their new job descriptions.

“[However], if people have fraudulently got their jobs by falsifying their CVs, then that’s a dismissible offence.”

 

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