Ugu debtors book stands at R290 million

2016-05-12 06:00

THE debtors book of Ugu District Council stands at R290 million. This means some consumers who get water­ do not pay and nobody knows how many water meters are connected to the system.

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

At a meeting of the portfolio committee on sound governance in April the acting chairman asked that the committee be provided with details about how many meters are actually read every month at the next meeting. When the May meeting took place there were still no figures available.

Two items on the agenda of the finance committee held last week screamed for comment. One was overtime pay and the other travelling expenses. The table reflecting the top 20 overtime payments showed that one official, 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.

Turning to the April figures for one month only, 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 of overtime, totalling 13 hours a day for a whole month.

This is inordinately stressful, inhuman, dangerous and illegal.

As far as travelling claims are concerned there was a claim for R13 626 in April for 2 605km and another for R9 757 for 3 078km. These top-end claims suggest daily travel at 113 to 137km per day. What sort of job demands this?

When these two items were tabled for discussion the acting chairman, who seemed concerned (there has been no chairman for eight months), asked for comments, there was a stony silence before the parrot cry of “noted”.

It took a lengthy report with the details of how an amount of R29 million must be written off because of deceased customers, to provoke comment from the finance committee.

D. Snashall

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