The Greater Tzaneen municipality in Limpopo has introduced strict measures to curb fraud allegations involving overtime expenditure amounting to over R200 million.
According to a financial report commissioned by the executive management of the municipality and tabled in council last week, Tzaneen has paid a staggering R211 million of questionable overtime expenditure to its employees since 2013.
The report, which The Citizen has seen, indicates that about 60% (431 out of 660) of the municipality’s staff have been receiving overtime pay every month for the past seven years. Municipal officials, according to the report, earned R23.5 million in 2013/14 and the figure ballooned to R34.3 million in the 2020/21 financial years.
Surprisingly, in November 2021, one employee claimed a total of 91 hours, totalling R88,634.16. Employees of the solid waste management division, according to the report, became the worst overtime claimers, walking away with a whooping R7.4 million in 2021/22 financial year.
According to the provincial annual budget, Greater Tzaneen is one of the richest councils in Limpopo. The council receives the fattest slice of Limpopo’s annual budget from the provincial treasury. This year the municipality received a total annual budget of R1.461 billion and it has an annual overtime budget of R27 million with expenditure to date of R26 million.
The council is responsible for water reticulation in Tzaneen town and suburbs, Nkowankowa, Lenyenye, Haenertsburg and Letsitele.
Democratic Alliance member of parliament Solly Malatsi said it was clear that municipal officials have been abusing the overtime reward system. “While there is nothing wrong with the principle of overtime pay for additional work, employees in Tzaneen are permitted a maximum of 194 hours for overtime work in a month, which is beyond the normal standard rate for overtime.
“It’s a disgrace that these municipal officials are on a self-enriching crusade at the expense of the taxpayers,” he said.
Yesterday the council said it has introduced stringent measures to curb the escalation of excessive overtime expenditure.
“Among these are that municipal vehicles must have tracking devices installed to monitor their movements.
“There must also be internal audits conducted into the excessive overtime expenditure as well as reviews of the overtime management policy,” said municipal spokesperson Neville Ndlala on Wednesday.