Ward councillors’ assistants want Msunduzi to pay them for overtime worked since 2016 and to stop the “illegal” deductions on their salaries.
The municipality has 40 assistants who alternate between working directly in the wards they are assigned to and at the Publicity House building, next to the City Hall.
They were appointed after the 2016 local government elections to assist ward councillors in their communities.
The assistants claim they were undermined by the office of the speaker, Jabu Ngubo.
They said they had to buy their own computers and printers as Msunduzi wanted all the information supplied to it to be typed.
They also say they made repeated attempts to get a meeting with Ngubo to talk about their problems, but were ignored.
Among the things they wished to discuss with her included the condition of their office in Publicity House, where the windows were apparently stuck and the air conditioner malfunctioned.
“When we eventually met with the manager in her office [Blessing Dlamini] he said we were not entitled to overtime even though we are also municipal employees and should be getting all the benefits.”
Ward 25 assistant Ndumiso Chamane told The Witness they could not understand why they were not allowed to claim overtime like other municipal employees when they are expected to work in the evenings and weekends.
Ward 29’s Mlu Zondi said their other grievance had to do with the unauthorised deductions on their salaries.
He said they started noticing these six months ago when between R200 and R1 000 was taken.
Mbali Phungula, from ward 37, said they have sent two memorandums to Ngubo’s office requesting a meeting with her, but they have been ignored.
When contacted for comment, Dlamini said when he interviewed the ward assistants, before their appointments, he asked them if they would be willing to work overtime and then take time off in lieu and they agreed.
“I didn’t know that they also wanted financial compensation but if that’s the case then we will discuss it with them in our next meeting,” he added.
Dlamini said the issue of overtime would also require Msunduzi to monitor the assistants as they currently came and went as they pleased.
He said he would investigate the unauthorised deductions with the pay office and report back to the ward assistants.
With regards to the working conditions, he said all the offices were supplied with phones and only four did not have computers, as they were either stolen or damaged by fire.
He said the assistants, however, were aware that they could come to his office anytime and use the available computers there.
Dlamini said he was aware of the situation at the Publicity House office and would engage with Ngubo on the matter. He said the assistants who regularly use that office were volunteers but he was trying to get them into the expanded public works programme so that they could get a stipend.