Scarce skills challenge

2010-02-19 00:00

THE department tasked with servicing the city’s infrastructure is currently operating at a vacancy rate of 46%.

What this means is that the Msunduzi Municipality’s infrastructure services business unit only has 52% of the staff they need to function optimally.

This revelation was made by acting deputy municipal manager for infrastructure services Thokozani Maseko during yesterday’s sitting of the executive committee (Exco).

“[The infrastructure services business unit] is not sitting in a comfortable position,” he said.

Maseko’s statement came in the wake of a discussion relating to a new policy adopted by the KwaZulu-Natal Local Government Association (Kwanaloga), which provincial municipalities have to abide by.

Kwanaloga’s new retention and recruitment policy for scarce and critical skills means that provincial municipalities now have to cap allowances at 10%.

However, in a bid to retain skilled staff after a spate of resignations, Exco resolved to implement a staff retention policy on June 4 last year to entice skilled employees to stay.

Electricians, technicians, technologists, professional technologists, engineers and professional engineers were given an extra allowance ranging from 10% to 25% over and above their normal salary.

This means the allowances currently being paid by Msunduzi contravene Kwanaloga’s new policy and amendments have to be made.

Deputy municipal manager for finance Roy Bridgmohan said: “As we fall under the jurisdiction of Kwanaloga, we align our policies to theirs. We are therefore obliged to reduce the allowances down to the 10% capping.”

Maseko was not amused and complained that they should not operate under a “one shoe fits all” policy as each municipality is different from the others.

DA councillor Rodger Ashe agreed with Maseko, saying the municipality has a big problem in retaining staff with scarce and critical skills.

He said Maseko should write a report to Kwanaloga to consider his unit as a special case and allow them to continue with current allowances, otherwise they may lose more employees.

“These are the people doing service delivery and they possess critical skills that deal with things such as pipe bursts and electricity,” he said.

Deputy municipal manager for corporate services Kevin Perumal agreed with Maseko.

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