EThekwini municipality staff worked 4.5million overtime hours. File photo.
Durban - The eThekwini municipality has been bleeding millions in overtime payments, with employees claiming to have worked 4.5 million hours in overtime in just one year.

“The total amount paid on overtime on electricity, water, metro police and security management during 2016/2017 financial year was R524 million (total hours: 4 584 735)”.

This is the information contained in the quarterly report (for the quarter ended in March) by the city council’s audit committee which revealed that in some cases employees earned overtime exceeding their salaries by up to 449%.

The report stated that between December 2016 and last June, 268 employees earned overtime greater than their salaries. These ranged from 101% to 449%.

The report said city council employees were permitted to work overtime hours that exceeded 10 hours per week and more than 40 hours a month, something which is in contravention of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

The audit committee found that another area of concern with regards to overtime payment was for VIP protectors attached to councillors.

Between January 2016 and June last year the city council’s VIP protectors earned R75m in overtime.

There were cases where the committee found that protection was provided to councillors “without an adequate feedback threat assessment report from the SAPS”.

In a response contained in the report the security management unit said it had embarked on a number of measures to curb overtime.

These include the introduction of overtime pre-approval and other control measures such as attendance registers to ensure that employees claim for overtime that they have worked. The unit blamed the overtime on not having enough staff members to cover the two official shifts (6am to 2pm and 2pm to 10pm).

“The number of members to perform the two-shift system is not enough after the private security contract expired.

“As a result it is compulsory at this point in time that members have to work overtime in excess of 10 hours per week to cover both shifts and sometimes even beyond 10pm,” a response from Dumisani Bhengu, the head of security management said.

Metro police said it would be recruiting 800 new officers between March and December next year.

A motivational report will also be written for the recruitment of another 1000 metro police officers after next year.

“Consideration will be given to a shift system with set overtime for weekends and public holidays only,” said metro police.

In its response the electricity unit said it has resolved to have more employees on a standby roster so that no employee worked excessive overtime above others and to comply with the legislation governing overtime.

The water department said it had designed an organogram which would mitigate the challenges it faced and that it had made recommendations for the recruitment of staff.

DA councillor Sharon Hoosen said the information contained in the report was proof that there was no accountability as the same issues were raised every year.

“We have new councillors being protected without even following due processes but when we asked for 10 DA councillors to be protected we were told to follow processes.”

Responding to the DA councillor, mayor Zandile Gumede said councillors should not grandstand and politicise the issue. “We have received this report, we have shown transparency. We are the only government that is open for the public to know what is happening. Let us just deal with the matters,” the mayor said.

Mdu Nkosi of the IFP said the issue of excessive overtime rears its head from time to time and there was no indication that something was being done.

ANC councillor Sipho Kaunda proposed that the office of the city manager should furnish Exco with quarterly reports on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the audit report.

The Mercury