City staff abuse overtime

2019-07-10 17:16

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The City management is losing control over its unruly workforce who think they are entitled to claiming excessive overtime.

The admission was made by the acting municipal manager, Nelisiwe Ngcobo, to the councillors on Tuesday when they questioned the startling amounts Msunduzi paid to its staff for overtime worked in May.

DA caucus leaders Sibongiseni Majola said the figures were alarming and he could not find the justification for departments such as sustainable development and city entities to claim 370% more than the annual budget for overtime, which is R212 089. He said he understood that the infrastructure business unit and community services were where most of the delivery of service took place and they also responded to emergencies.

Fellow councillor Rooksana Ahmed said overtime was abused by some employees. She said when members of the public reported issues with either water or electricity, these were not fixed during the day but the City’s staff would come out in the evenings or weekend to attend to them.

She said even Msunduzi’s finance officials had adopted a culture of not working all their hours during the day as they left their work stations unattended in the afternoon. “They are so privileged, I think the finance people only work four or five hours a day.”

Ahmed said this was an abuse of ratepayers’ money and council owed it to them to deal with these problems. Speaker Jabu Ngubo concurred with Ahmed that the public’s service delivery complaints were not attended to during the day.

She said this indicated that the supervisors were not monitoring their staff or they were colluding with those who wanted to claim overtime.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act stipulates that the maximum permissible overtime is 10 hours per week but the restriction does not apply to emergency work such as accidents, electricity outages or burst water pipes.

However, Msunduzi’s overtime claims had been allowed to gradually increase over the 2018/19 financial year, which ended last month.

By the end of May the City had paid out more than R74 million in overtime as measures to curb it were not effectively implemented. “Overtime is a problem in our municipality. Our employees have an entitlement in terms of overtime,” said Ngcobo.

She said last year Msunduzi reduced the budget allocation for overtime as part of its cost containment measures, but the staff were still claiming excessive amounts, which resulted in an over-expenditure.

“It’s a fact that our employees are failing to work during working hours and when they are not getting that overtime, [anyone] who is stopping them is at risk, seriously.”

DA veteran Bill Lambert proposed the change in recommendations, saying council was noting the overtime report “with considerable alarm and dismay”.

The City administrator, Sibusiso Sithole, said it was concerning that overtime was mismanaged and abused. He said next month council should get a detailed report on how it would be curbed because it was costing the municipality.

May 2019 overtime claimed

Office of City manager__________ R182 447

Finance unit__________________ R517 017

Community services____________ R4,3 million

Corporate services______________R3 762

Infrastructure_________________ R2,6 million

Sustainable development________ R79 931

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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