Msunduzi has kicked off the process of filling dozens of critical positions whose vacancy was compromising the City’s functionality as some had been vacant for years.On Thursday the acting municipal manager Nelisiwe Ngcobo confirmed to The Witness that for the past few weeks Msunduzi had been inviting eligible candidates to apply and there would be more advertisements published in the media soon. “The municipality is prioritising the vacancy rate because it is very high and they are critical posts that we’ve identified, more especially where it’s affecting us in terms of compliance. “Internal audit is a priorty, so it became number one. We’ve advertised for a chief forensic auditor as well as a number of other auditors.”She said the other departments that were prioritised included the billing section within the finance unit, waste management and several other sub-units across the City’s administration had also been identified. “You’d be surprised how many people have been acting, it’s like Hollywood,” said Ngcobo. Msunduzi’s high vacancy rate was also highlighted in the May turnaround strategy which was put together by the City’s administrator Sibusiso Sithole. He said it contributed to the deterioration of the city, which included the lack of enforcement of by-laws and challenges with revenue collection.Ngcobo said they had advertised for a senior manager for revenue as well as a manager and officials for the rates department. “In the waste department there are a number of people that have been acting for quite a number of years, like the managers for domestic waste and the landfill. We also did not have a senior manager within that unit because we had Cyril Naidoo, who has been acting as well.”She said this week there would also be an advert for a number of critical positions for departments such as the multi-billion rand Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network.“Right now we are busy with the interviews for our senior legal adviser that is going to be in charge of our legal team. We are also appointing someone who will assist us in terms of clearing the backlog of disciplinary cases. “You will recall that when the administrator [Sithole] was appointed to Msunduzi, one of his key performance areas is addressing cases that have been left unattended, some of those have been pending for years.”Ngcobo said the filling of vacant positions would help cut the City’s bill for acting allowances to officials and paying for consultants as some services had to be outsources because there was no internal capacity.“This is also going to help reduce the high expenditure on overtime. Overtime has to be monitored by the relevant supervisor but there have been cases where people were working overtime but their units had no senior managers to monitor them in terms of ensuring that it’s not abused.”Ngcobo confessed that Msunduzi was grappling with a challenge of ensuring that the city was clean but said the plan to turn things around was underway. “We know what we are doing to our community is not right but we are trying to find a solution.”She said the manager for waste would be appointed soon but in the meantime the municipality was busy sorting out the issue of trucks. She said they were also finalising the appointment of 490 Expanded Public Works Programme beneficiaries who will be deployed across the city for various tasks, including waste and maintenance.