'No more private security'

2009-02-12 00:00

MSUNDUZI municipality executive council (Exco) members entitled to VIP protection will now have to provide their own security when attending private functions, effective from yesterday.

This is part of the action plan unveiled by Msunduzi Municipality municipal manager Rob Haswell and approved by Exco yesterday, to control over-expenditure of R33 million.

Security for the mayor, deputy mayor and other Exco members who are entitled to VIP protection will be reduced and limited to official functions only.

“With immediate effect, councillors will have to provide their own security when attending private functions. There will also be a drastic reduction in the number of personnel used at municipal functions, including those held in the city hall,” said Haswell.

A VIP protection sub-unit will be established in the public safety department and will operate on a three-shift system, “providing the necessary security, but eliminating a current major source of overtime expenditure”. The sub-unit will be established on March 1.

Haswell was responding to last week’s council resolution that he and his management committee should submit a detailed report of measures to be taken to curb over-spending on overtime.

In his report to Exco yesterday, Haswell tabled an “action plan” that he said will significantly reduce overtime payments without compromising the delivery of essential services such as waste removal and responses to water, electricity and sewerage emergencies.

Exco also approved Haswell’s request for R10 million to pay for overtime until the end of the current financial year.

“As far as possible and predictable, overtime will be approved in advance for the remainder of this financial year,” he said before the plan was approved.

Haswell said staff attendance will be closely monitored. “Beginning on July 1, 2009, a foolproof technology system will be available … because we need to know who is at work when and where. This will dramatically improve control of overtime.”

The departments identified as sources of over expenditure are those that provide essential services and one of them is the waste management.

Haswell said the problem of broken vehicles will be addressed in the next year.

“A comprehensive report proposing the leasing of vehicles on full maintenance basis for the 2009/2010 financial year will inform next year’s budget,” he declared.

Broken vehicles were given as an excuse for delays in collecting rubbish.

Democratic Alliance councillor Mark Steele raised a concern about the introduction of the three-shift system, asking, “What consideration has been given to unions who may object that introduction of three shifts will lead to employees losing overtime, which gives them extra cash?”.

Inkatha Freedom Party councillor Dolo Zondi said the proposed system might lead to an increase in spending. “If you have three shifts, that will mean you will have to employ more people.”

ANC councillor Themba Zuma said overtime is not compulsory. “There is no contract that guarantees overtime, but it is provided for emergencies, and in order to reduce over-expenditure on overtime, more people must be employed and be paid normal salaries.”

sandilez@witness.co.za

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