Thabiso Goba
3 minute read
30 May 2022
06:49

Msunduzi pays over R137 million to hire help for ‘basic’ jobs

Thabiso Goba

The Msunduzi Municipality spent over R137 million in one year on consultants as a result of municipal staff not having the required skills to carry out the work.

The Msunduzi Municipality spent over R137 million in one year on consultants as a result of municipal staff not having the required skills to carry out the work.

This information was contained in the handover report that was presented by former administrator, Scelo Duma, to council last week.

In his report, Duma said the municipality even employed external consultants for “basic transactions and reporting”.

The units that utilised consultants the most were budget and treasury (R40 million) as well as infrastructure services (R65 million).

The report stated that the municipality’s “high reliance” on consultants was a very serious challenge that needs to be reduced. Duma said the reduction in consultants will require creation of internal capacity and filling critical vacancies.

“The current organogram has been received, posts will be filled to reduce the use of consultants. Each general manager has prepared a plan to capacitate internal staff and reduce use of consultants,” reads the report.

Duma’s report said 272 critical posts have been advertised in the municipality and once filled, they should decrease the municipality’s reliance on consultants.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) councillor Rienus Niemand said the municipality’s reliance on consultants was a result of “giving jobs to pals who are unqualified”.

Duma’s reported that a skills audit was done on 97 managers in Msunduzi to check if they were suitably qualified for the position they held in the municipality and 22 of them had “issues” with personal data.

Those managers were ordered to submit their qualifications to the human resources department for final assessment, the report said.

Duma said “training interventions” would be used to close the skills gap with those managers.

“The fact of the matter is consultants are appointed under circumstances where people are unable or unwilling to do the job. The finance section has failed us for more than five years and that is more than enough time to replace these people,” said Niemand.

Niemand said the provincial government failed Msunduzi by not bringing in the required expertise nor ensuring corrective action during the past three years since the municipality had been placed under administration.

In Duma’s report, it was stated that the municipality was slow in dealing with employees who were guilty of financial misconduct.

As of November last year, there were 64 disciplinary cases pending, with one suspension and three dismissals. “Most cases are processed while employees are working following risk assessments regarding their presence.”

Duma’s report also revealed that the “slow payment” of the South African Local Government Association (Salga) panel members who were assisting with prosecution was a contributing factor in the lack of effective consequence management in Msunduzi.

“We have had complaints that when they are looking for people to chair disciplinary committees, no one is willing to do so because no one wants to discipline their pals.”
ACDP councillor Rienus Niemand

“Another bottleneck identified by the city manager is the reluctance by some senior managers to undertake the function of prosecuting or presiding over disciplinary tribunals,” the report reads.

“Again the city manager has directed that such managers should themselves be charged with insubordination for failure to carry out lawful instructions that are part of their job definition. It remains to be seen whether this strategy will propel managers to speed up these cases or whether it will be counterproductive.”

Niemand said there was a general “unwillingness” in the municipality to effect consequence management.

“We have had complaints that when they are looking for people to chair disciplinary committees, no one is willing to do so because no one wants to discipline their pals.

“The solution would be bringing in independent disciplinary committees,” he said.