Msunduzi in spending mess

2009-02-05 00:00

THE Msunduzi Municipality has blown its entire overtime budget of R33 million seven months into the financial year — overspending it by a whopping R5 million.

Heads must roll, say executive committee (Exco) members, in particular that of municipal manager Rob Haswell.

Haswell is also in hot water for missing the deadline for submitting the municipality’s annual report to the provincial treasury. Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo said she is aware of other issues of non-compliance, such as outstanding signatures on performance agreements for senior staff.

She noted that these are management issues and she was told that management meetings are not taking place any longer.

The council’s finance committee heard yesterday that the draft annual report should have been tabled before a full council sitting in January.

The session did not take place because the speaker was told there were no items on the agenda.

Hlatshwayo said Haswell should have alerted the speaker about the deadline for the report.

But it was the overtime issue that most alarmed councillors.

Deputy municipal manager Roy Bridgemohan said the previous high overtime bill was attributable to the excessive number of vacant posts, and R21 million was spent filling the posts. Instead of being reduced, overtime charges went up.

Hlatshwayo called this poor management. Councillor Pops Chetty said every department has a financial manager. “Things are out of control, Somebody has to take responsibility,” he said.

There were suggestions that officials who don’t manage their overtime budgets should be made to pay from their own pockets.

Haswell was attending a funeral in Cape Town yesterday. Deputy Mayor Mervyn Dirks said he must be called before next Thursday’s Exco Meeting to provide answers.

An analysis of the overtime shows that the two worst performing departments are waste management and traffic. Previously in waste management, the excuse has been broken trucks, meaning fewer crews taking longer to collect rubbish, but the vehicles have been repaired and replaced.

The finance committee resolved that no more money will be given for overtime until the municipal manager and his management team submit a detailed report to Exco about control measures to be put in place to keep the spending in check.

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