Msunduzi’s rising vacancy rate continues to affect service delivery

2017-07-11 13:59
Graphic o vacancy rate of Msunduzi Municipality.

Graphic o vacancy rate of Msunduzi Municipality. (Graphics24)

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It appears Msunduzi Municipality has run off the rails in its efforts to fill vacant posts.

Despite approving its organisational structure in 2013, the city is nowhere near filling all the posts identified on the structure that was adopted by council four years ago. The city has been found wanting in its efforts to manage the vacancy rate, which has gone up instead of going down.

In 2013 when the organisational structure was approved, the vacancy rate stood at 46%.

According to a recent Statistics SA report, the figure has now gone up to 53%, with an astonishing total of 5 204 funded posts remaining unfilled.

The report titled “Municipalities: where are the staff vacancies?” lists Msunduzi as the municpality with the second highest vacancy rate after Emfuleni Municipality in Gauteng.

In the report Statistician-General Pali Lehohla said many municipalities were not properly staffed to deliver efficient service to residents.

“Recent service delivery protests have shifted the spotlight onto local government’s ability to provide vital services. Are municipalities properly staffed to handle the complexities of service delivery?”

When the organisational structure was approved in 2013, the vacancy rate at the infrastructure business unit was at 39,16%.

The Witness recently reported that the vacancy rate at the business unit tasked with infrastructure maintenance and upgrades is at 68,13%.

The high vacancy rate in the infrastructure business unit has been blamed for the prolonged power outages suffered by Msunduzi residents.

In the 2013-14 to 2016-17 Integrated Development Plan, the City had said the new organisational structure had been created to improve services within the municipal area.

“The unacceptably high vacancy rate in the organisation is a matter of grave concern. For instance, a vacancy rate of 46% or 2 452 vacant posts were reported in March 2013. Delays with the filling of the vacancies have impacted negatively on service delivery,” the City said in 2014, adding that it would prioritise filling these posts that year.

City depriving unemployed by not filling posts — DA

DA caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola said Msunduzi was depriving the city’s job seekers of employment opportunities by not filling vacant posts.

“There are many unemployed graduates in the city who need job opportunities. Youth unemployment is high in Msunduzi. There are many vacant general jobs which do not need qualifications that should be filled to decrease the high unemployment rate.

“Instead of prioritising these posts, the municipality went and bought expensive cars for political heads. In the budget that was approved, the city opted to increase contracted services [use of consultants] rather than to prioritise vacant posts,” he said.

IFP caucus leader Thinasonke Ntombela said the high vacancy rate was behind the “deteriorating” service delivery in the city.

“That is why the municipality has been surrendering back millions of rands in unspent conditional grants because there is no direction in the city. We do not know where the hold-up is because no one from council is willing to tell us.

“Are they waiting for cadres to deploy like they usually do? When we ask the general managers about the unfilled vacancies, they simply tell us that they are in the process of filling them. But is has been four years now. How long will these processes take?”

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha did not respond to queries sent to her.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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