Municipality in shambles

2010-01-18 00:00

THE chickens have come home to roost.

This is the reaction of most Msunduzi municipal staffers to the news that essential services like cleaning the city, maintaining the verges and managing the landfill site are falling apart.

Many see the breakdown of these essential services as stemming from the placement policy implemented around 2004. The intention of the policy was to ensure equity and a better racial and gender balance within the ranks of senior staffers within the municipality.

However, sources claim that, instead of placing skilled black staffers in these positions, the system was manipulated by cronyism. Individuals who were well connec­ted or closely linked to certain senior managers and even councillors were given jobs. According to one source, the problem lay with everyon­e turning a blind eye to what was going on. “Everyone knew the system was being manipulated; it was obvious and blatant from the type of appointments that were made,” said the source.

According to sources at the City Hall, there is now an attempt to get people who were sidelined to help sort out the problem. They claim this will not work because the people who caused the mess will just be moved sideways and will still be earning the same salaries. They believe that to raise morale and to get the municipality functioning, non-performers will have to be dealt with decisively.

Others say that it is high time the Msunduzi Municipality, which has been beset with problems of infighting and non service delivery, comes under the spotlight of the National Department of Co-operative Governance or the ANC’s National Working Committee.

They claim areas that need to be probed include:

•The extent of cronyism within the organisation, which is affecting service delivery. There is an allegation that at least four agencies are used to bring in temporary workers into the municipality. It later turns out that these “temporary workers” are allegedly friends, relatives and even partners of certain staffers or councillors. There are allegedly no posts, motivation or apparent reason why the temporary workers are needed and, within a short while, sometimes in less than six months, they are appointed permanent workers. Staff want an audit on the number of family members working for the municipality.

•As a result of this constant influx of temporary workers at all levels within the municipality, an audit needs to be done on how many people are sitting within the organisation doing nothing.

•There has been no action around the forensic audit conducted by the KZN Local Go­vernment Department more than two years ago. According to staffers, the forensic audit fingered certain se­nior people within the organisation. Council took several resolutions to act on the findings, yet, to date, no action has been taken. They see this failure to act as having a serious effect on morale and efficiency within the organisation

•However, most importantly, they want the ANC to address the political infighting within the council and the rift between the Speaker and the Mayor. They claim senior officials allegedly end up playing along with one or the other faction in the interests of keeping their jobs. They claim that, with this instabililty within the organisation, senior officials become more embroiled in the politics of survival, and ser­vice delivery goes out the window.

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