Durban - Images of eThekwini employees asleep on the job abound on social media, but the municipality says it is unaware of workers who lie around on the side of the road, sleeping or playing on their phones when they should be working.
Several pictures of employees from various municipal departments in their work clothes lying at the side of the road during their work shifts have been shared on social media. Those who share the pictures say the workers lie around all day, not doing their jobs, and not just during their breaks.
Workers from the Parks and Recreation, Durban Solid Waste (DSW), water and sanitation, and the electricity departments have been caught on camera.
Accompanied by an image, Ingrid Hawkins posted on Facebook that the municipality should stop handing out tenders to the companies of friends. “Employ the right people for the job and people that want to work. It’s not a great job, I understand, but it is a job. They’re getting paid to do it and not lie around and sleep all day and sit on their phones.”
Lindy Pohl suggested that residents should stop paying rates and maintain their own verges.
“We always used to do that 25 years ago and it looked far better than it does now,” she wrote.
Adri Slabbert said she wasted her data complaining about the workers. She had asked the workers if they knew how often pictures of them asleep were posted on Facebook. “It doesn’t bother them.”
eThekwini spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said they had never received any reports of employees lying around when they should be on duty.
“It is not acceptable and the municipality cannot condone such behaviour.
“With that said, we cannot be sure when exactly the pictures were taken; it’s possible that they were taken during their teatime or their break time. Anyone found doing this will face the consequences.”
DA caucus leader Nicole Graham said municipal employees and contractors both provided a low quality of work.
“We get frequent complaints about staff sleeping. We try and follow up with the relevant departments. Overall, in many instances, the municipality has employed many people who are not properly supervised or who are not capable of doing the required work, and there is not enough accountability,” she said.
IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said there were lots of complaints regarding municipal workers, especially from DSW and parks and recreation.
“There are many of these complaints and the city is aware of them, but not doing anything about it,” he said, adding that the workers do a minuscule bit of work and then wait for the next shift to take over.
Nkosi said the filth in Durban was the result of workers who were not supervised and who did not go through proper hiring processes.
“Our city is filthy and it will continue to be like this as long as we have workers that are unsupervised.
“The only solution is for the ANC to stop hiring comrades, to stop abusing their power because workers that are not going through the hiring process like everyone else leads to what Durban has become,” said Nkosi.
The SA Municipal Workers’ Union said it could speak on behalf of the workers where it concerned their work performance. Provincial secretary Jaycee Ncanana said: “The matter of how they are doing their job can only be discussed with their employer.
“The public needs to understand that seeing a person lying under the tree or under the truck, as they say, does not mean they work for DSW or for parks and recreation or for any department for that matter.
“People cannot quickly make assumptions, when they do not know what is going on. Not so long ago there were suspects arrested for a crime; they were wearing DSW work suits and none of them were DSW employees.
“Sometimes you will see a person wearing a DSW uniform walking and passing litter lying around, only to find out he works for another department and picking up litter is not his job Community members must go to the municipality and raise their issues rather than just talk about them,” he said.