Overtime running on empty

2010-02-05 00:00

OVERTIME management at the Msunduzi Municipality has failed dismally.

As of January 1, the municipality was left with an overtime fund of only R1 million. This revelation was made by deputy municipal manager for finance Roy Bridgmohan at yesterday’s finance committee.

As The Witness has reported before, this means that the municipality has spent R32 million of its total overtime budget of R33 million in a mere six months.

A report tabled at the meeting stated: “The investigation [to curb overtime] commenced [as far back as] January 2006 … management did not take the recommendations seriously and had they complied with the implementation of the desired outcomes, there would be improvements on the reductions today.

“As a result, the issue of excessive overtime and overexpenditure remained unabated even to date.”

According to the report, there are cases where overtime hours claimed exceed the stipulated working time by 340 hours a month. This means an employee would have to work 14 days in a row for 24 hours a day, which is unlikely. On average, normal working hours amount to 173 hours a month, so in such a case, an employee would claim to have worked three times the normal time.

“… in terms of policy [they] should have worked up to a maximum of 60 hours per month.

“This is only one illustration of the likely abuse that is taking place, which amounts to fraudulent claims being made and processed,” states the report.

ANC councillor Themba Zungu said councillors are tired of waiting for the fraud reports.

“Not a single official came and addressed us and said ‘I authorised the payments’. We must suspend these people because we know who heads the departments. Where is that report?” he said.

Municipal manager Rob Haswell said a full investigation is already under way and every possible instance of fraud will be investigated and disciplinary action taken.

Deputy Mayor Mervyn Dirks said every manager responsible for signing without checking must also face disciplinary action.

Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo said she is disappointed that the expected report did not materialise.

Zungu added that they are tired of hearing about never-ending investigations.

“Managers are not being managed by the municipal manager, so how can they manage workers?” he asked.

Dirks said the time has come to report to the MEC for assistance as officials are not implementing decisions.

Hlatshwayo said the first step will be a full council meeting before going to the MEC.

Zungu then said: “Full council must decide if they want to recover ratepayers’ money that has been stolen or not. If that doesn’t work, we go to the MEC.”

He said Haswell has until the next meeting to give them a report with names, the time worked, which department they fell under, who authorised payments and how the municipality was planning to get that money back.


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