Report: City staff clueless

2019-01-18 14:54

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As residents bemoan the state of Pietermaritzburg and the poor service they get from the municipality, a scathing report has revealed that almost half of Msunduzi’s operational staff don’t know what’s expected of them at work.

The staff also say they don’t have adequate equipment to do their work efficiently.

The report also revealed that the municipality has insufficient telephone lines to deal with telephonic queries, no turnaround time that staff know of to deal with queries, and no queue management systems at municipal offices to effectively manage queues and minimise waiting times.

The report detailed the findings of a task team deployed by Premier Willies Mchunu to Msunduzi and was tabled at an Executive Committee meeting on Thursday.

The team was deployed following the City’s dismal audit opinion in the previous financial year, after Msunduzi received a disclaimer — the worst audit opinion that can be given.

The team, made up of specialists from all sectors of government, conducted site visits at municipal buildings and surveyed council staff and residents who were paying their utility bills at the main AS Chetty Building.

The survey of council staff found that,

• 44% of operational staff members indicated they did not know what was expected of them at work while 11% were neutral,

• 44% indicated they did not have the required resources to do their work efficiently and effectively,

• 44% of staff members said their supervisors were not sensitive to their needs,

• 44% of operational staff members indicated that they did not have the opportunity to learn and grow in the past 12 months.

The same percentage of senior management members indicated that they did not have the opportunity to learn and grow.

The report recommended that senior management work with operational staff in reviewing and signing job descriptions.

“[Msunduzi needs] to review the organisational structure and place employees where their skills will be best utilised.

“Management needs to do a comprehensive audit of working equipment.

“Where possible, reallocate resources to areas where they are most needed,” said the report.

The team also recommended capacity building and training of operational staff and management.

The report found that the municipal creditors section did not have adequate phone lines to deal with the high volumes of telephonic queries.

“Office space is not conducive for staff and furniture is old. Some staff members reported that the equipment is not adequate for stimulating productivity,” said the report.

There is no internal turnaround time known by staff, the report found.

“There must be queue management systems to effectively manage queues and minimise waiting time.

“It must be electronic so that it is fair and transparent.

“The waiting time standard must be displayed as part of the services standards,” the report said.

Residents also complained to the team about the level of service they are receiving from the municipality, the report said.

“Customers who were interviewed indicated that they were not familiar with what services the municipality offered and where they should lodge their complaints. They often found themselves sent from one section to the next.

“Responses from customers indicated that Batho Pele (People First) [principles] such as consultation, service standards, redress and complaints management were not being applied by the officials of the municipality.”

Chief director of monitoring and evaluation at the Office of the Premier, Priscilla Shanmugam, directed the city to develop and implement an improvement plan.

“The improvement plan will then be monitored on a quarterly basis for the next two years whereby you will be requested to provide progress on the targets achieved,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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