Managers claiming R16 a km

2010-04-19 00:00

SENIOR managers employed by the Msunduzi Municipality are putting in claims of R16 a kilometre for travel allowances.

This revelation was made by Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler during his address to the local businesspeople at the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) offices last week.

Automobile Association spokesman Gary Ronald expressed shock when he heard the rate being claimed by Msunduzi managers.

He said the amount is probably three to four times more than the running costs of the most expensive vehicles available in the country. The AA rate is calculated on the value of the vehicle, and takes into account wear and tear, tyres and insurance.

DA councillor Rodger Ashe said that although councillors were told there were officials making such claims, no names were given.

What has emerged, he added, is that the municipality’s travel allowance policy has been set in such a way that it can be manipulated.

“In cases like this you find that very often the policy is wrong. Whoever is setting the policy — because that is where the fault lies — has allowed it to be open to abuse. We were given the impression people were abusing the policy in such a way that they could get away with it,” he said.

Ashe said very often such policies are drafted by the municipal manager in consultation with the deputy municipal managers and he has raised this issue constantly.

He said that key performance indicators (KPIs) set by the managers are open to manipulation when the managers are clearly not performing satisfactorily.

“Performance KPIs must be linked to customer satisfaction. Now is the time to clean out the whole system and I’m confident that Mettler will deal with this,” he said.

IFP caucus leader Dolo Zondi said he was shocked when he heard the news and accused the managers of stealing from the municipality.

“It’s an indication of the gross mismanagement in the municipality. The head of every department should know what’s going on in their unit — from the municipal manager, deputy municipal manager and process manager. If there’s something of this nature, who knows what else has not been discovered,” he said.

Zondi said it was not surprising the municipality has financial problems because it is clear that the deployees were not suitable for their positions.

He said he has faith that Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler will deal successfully with the matter.

“He must take action against these people; he has the power to. They are crooks who have been employed to crook the municipality,” he said.

Zondi said he has never seen the policy and does not recall it ever being brought to the executive committee.

Mettler said the policy does exist, and although it was approved in 1991, senior managers have been amending it throughout the years.

“When the policy is applied, it has the effect that senior managers can be remunerated from between R14 to R16 a kilometre. It’s completely unacceptable and outside of the norm,” he said.

Mettler said the policy is being revised to bring it in line with local government indicators.

“I’m fairly sure that council was not fully aware of the policy. Clearly it wasn’t in management’s best interest to inform them,” he said.

THE Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) has pledged it support to city heads following a meeting with them last week.

During the meeting, Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler and his team told the PCB that they would “perform... immediate life-saving surgery and also ensure that the patient is out of ICU”.

In a statement, the PCB said they were confident that the city would be back on the road to recovery once the intervention was finalised.

Said PCB President Tinus Havinga: “It will be [a] slow steady process, however [the] recovery of over R600 million in outstanding debt will take time and we must recognise that the cash crisis will be a feature of the next financial year, at least.”

He said they expect changes at senior management level and urged residents to pay monies owed to the municipality timeously.

“If we give our full support to the wave of change at city hall, our city will recover its honour and pride,” he said.

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