Cash-strapped North West forks out billions for 36 000 ghost employees

2015-09-01 13:02
North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo

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An investigation by the North West government and verification of its workforce has revealed that the province has been paying salaries to 36 000 public servants who cannot be accounted for.

This is happening in a province whose public servants salary bill was R19 billion a year – the lion’s share of the provincial budget of R26 billion. Only R3 billion a year was channelled towards service delivery in the mostly rural province, many areas of which are in need of basic services such as running water and electricity.

The former provincial director-general, Professor Job Mokgoro, said in May that R1.2 billion was being channelled to payments for accruals from previous financial years.

Briefing the standing committee on public accounts in Mahikeng today, Premier Supra Mahumapelo said the shocking revelation of the ghost employees was the result of a process undertaken to verify every government employee in the province’s salary payment system.

He said this was in line with the promise he made to “clean up” the administration when he took the helm as premier about a year ago.

Mahumapelo’s cabinet had earlier this year instituted a flexible moratorium, which saw vacancies being frozen across the province.

His spokesperson Brian Setswambung said the decision would apply to noncore positions and critical posts such as those of nurses and teachers would be filled through motivation from the heads of departments.

Meanwhile, Mahumapelo said they had not been able to quantify the money already paid to ghost workers.

He said the challenge was that those people who could not be accounted for were also “promoted” along the way and their salaries had increased.

“It is quite clear that some people are manipulating the system. There are people who are not properly employed who enter our system dubiously,” he said.

“The investigation is ongoing and the director-general will report to us once it has been concluded.”

Meanwhile, similar cases have been seen at municipal level, in particular at the financially strapped Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality in Mahikeng, where the organisational structure was apparently bloated with more employees than it needed and could afford.

In recent months, the municipality had to secure loans in order to pay salaries. It had not succeeded in its plan to dismiss the employees believed to have been hired irregularly.

Read more on:    supra mahumapelo  |  north west  |  ghost workers

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