Some Msunduzi staff are trying to get the workplace skills programme to pay for their private interests.Msunduzi said it is committed to upskilling staff, but the executive committee feels that some are abusing this programme.Councillors were responding to a request for approval of the implementation of 2019/20 workplace skills programme, which is expected to cost Msunduzi more than R15 million.A total of 1 089 of the City’s 3 864 employees applied for training but only 825 applications were approved. These ranged from administrative skills to aircraft construction, crowd control, road maintenance, plumbing and even financial management. However, the exco took exception to some applications: to pay for code 14 driver’s licences, which had 10 applicants from the waste department, and firearm competency, which saw 30 applicants from the land invasion unit.ANC’s Linda Madlala said he did not understand why the municipality had to pay for people to get their driver’s licences. “Why are we not saying [instead] that if they need to be promoted then they should be given a time frame to acquire those licences on their own?” he recommended.Fellow councillors nodded in agreement. Councillor Sibongile Mkhize commented on the firearm competency, saying security guards who were hired without one should pay for it from their own pockets. General manager for corporate services, Mosa Molapo, said: “The councillors are hitting the nail on the head but they must remember that there’s been historical appointments of people in positions whereby the set of competencies, skill and qualifications that is required, in some cases, is not met 100% for various reasons.”She said the City was now making sure that people’s qualifications were vetted before any appointment. However, she said, currently there were some people on the municipality’s payroll who did not have the necessary qualifications for their jobs.“We don’t discard such people that is why the workplace skills plan is intended to make sure that the municipality can upskill people who have historically been appointed without 100% of the qualifications,” said Molapo. Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla said the committee acknowledged that it had to recognise prior learning but it could not condone that people were hired without meeting the requirements for their job descriptions and now the municipality had to foot the bill to get them those.“We cannot approve that council must pay for the City employees to get driver’s licences. These people get paid on a monthly basis so if they want to become truck drivers let them pay for themselves.”Thebolla said it was also the individual guard’s responsibility to do the firearm competency test so the municipality must not give them guns until those tests had been completed. “Don’t give guns to people who don’t qualify ... Maybe that could be one of the contributing factors to why our security was disarmed,” Thebolla said in reference to the May seizure of the City’s firearms by the SAPS National Intervention Unit.He said the committee was committed to upskill its staff and understood the need for training on competencies like compliance, meter reading, using different machinery and repairing the City’s infrastructure. Administrator Sibusiso Sithole requested Molapo to investigate how people were appointed without meeting the requirements so that council could understand the extent of the problem.