Municipal debtors book runs into the millions

2016-06-09 06:00

THE debtors book of Ugu District Council stands at R290 million, and some consumers do not pay for municipal water.

This comes from councillor Dave­ Snashall who said in a letter to the Fever, that nobody knows how many water meters are connected to the system.

Neither does anybody know how often the meters are read. No one can say how many estimates are made every month, and consumers billed accordingly.

Furthermore, two employees have claimed exorbitant amounts for overtime and travel, which Snashall­ says is physically impossible­ for a person to work that amount of hours in a single month.

One of the officials, who earned R25 000 a month, was paid R76 000 in overtime over a period of six months. This works out at R12 600 a month in extra income from overtime.

In April alone, an official was paid R30 000 in overtime for working 140 overtime hours in a single month. His basic salary is R20 000 a month, so in April his total income from Ugu was R50 000.

To place this in some sort of perspective, and rounding off a month to 28 days for ease of comparison, he worked his normal 160 hours of straight time, which is eight hours a day for a five-day week. His overtime amounts to an additional 140 hours for the month. His workday is thus eight hours normal time, plus five hours overtime totalling 13 hours a day for a whole month. This is inordinately stressful, inhuman, dangerous and illegal,” said Snashall.

There was also a travel claim for R13 626 in April for 2605 kilometres and another for R9 757 for 3078 kilometres. These top-end claims suggest daily travel at 113 to 137 kilometres a day.

“What sort of job demands this?” he asked.

In response to this, Ugu spokesperson, France Zama, said a supervisor will put in a request for overtime if a job can’t be complete during normal working hours. This is pre-authourised and Zama says “the process that is being used to claim overtime enables the municipality to ensure that employees do not abuse overtime”.

“The supervisor will specify the date and the envisaged hours to be worked in order to complete that function. In their request the supervisor will give brief reasons as to why overtime needs to be worked,” he said.

This request needs to be authorised by the section manager as well as the general manager of the respective department in which the employee works.

“After work is complete, the supervisor stipulates on the claim to pay the overtime that was worked by the employee,” he said.

Further to this, R29 million must be written off due to deceased customers.

“Investigations and assessments will be conducted to determine the reasons to write off this debt,” he said.

Zama did not comment on the municipality’s water-reading system­.

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