Call to action on eThekwini Municipality’s over one billion rand overtime bill
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DURBAN – Senior officials at eThekwini Municipality should face disciplinary action for their failure to reduce the city’s annual overtime bill.
This is the view of advisers to opposition parties who said they did not believe city officials were doing enough to cut overtime spending amounting to over R 1 billion, calling for that they are held individually responsible.
This after the municipality said it was making progress in controlling its skyrocketing overtime bill, as it responded to concerns raised by the audit committee.
A few weeks ago, the committee tabled a report on the state of the municipality, flagging overtime spending as a concern.
The municipality responded to the committee’s report at an executive committee meeting last week.
She indicated that over the past three years, overtime expenses have decreased. In fiscal year 2020-2021, the city incurred R 1.073 billion in overtime spending, the lowest in the past three fiscal years.
IFP adviser Mdu Nkosi said the city manager should blame officials who fail to contain spending.
“For how many years do they say they have been trying to contain this, which means they are failing. The city manager should charge these officials. If you have a municipality that continuously accumulates overtime, at the end of the day the municipality will not have any money, ”Nkosi said.
DA adviser Thabani Mthethwa accused those responsible for trying to save face.
“They (the municipality) said there was a work team in place to manage this. Overtime is a monthly expense, but they’ve been trying to contain it for years. Their statements are meant to save face. Someone approves this overtime.
“It will never stop until all DCMs (Deputy City Directors) and Unit Heads are held accountable and disciplined,” he said.
In its report, the audit committee warned against overtime and stressed that the management of overtime should be part of the performance contract for senior managers.
“The audit committee expressed concern that there were still no measures to reduce overtime expenses, despite the matter having been repeatedly reported.
“Management has been asked to implement control measures to limit overtime in order to avoid similar results in the coming years. As a result, the audit committee recommended that the city consider including some aspects of overtime management as part of the performance contracts of deputy city managers, ”the report said.
In its response, the municipality said there has been progress over the years.
“Compliance measures are in place. A Compliance and Overtime Reduction team comprising representatives from the cluster, as well as representatives from the unit’s top 10 spenders, meets monthly to discuss overtime and to examine ways to achieve compliance without affecting performance. service delivery, ”he said.
He added that progress had been seen, according to which spending for 2020/21 was 1.073 billion rand, compared to the previous year which was 1.3 billion rand, and 2018/2019 which was 1 , 2 billion rand.
“It shows a reduction, but we still have a long way to go to ensure that budgets are not exceeded and that we comply with the law,” he said.
Among the measures she was exploring, the city said, was a shift system in some units that would suit operations and reduce overtime spending.
The municipality was also developing an overtime planning system that would help line managers obtain pre and post overtime approvals.