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Absenteeism, lateness hit productivity at eThekwini Municipality, says mayor

EThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda

EThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. File Picture: Bongani Mbatha: African News Agency /ANA

Published Mar 29, 2023


Durban - High levels of absenteeism and late-coming are hampering eThekwini Municipality’s productivity, mayor Mxolisi Kaunda told exco members on Tuesday..

He was reacting to a report from the Audit Committee which once again red-flagged overtime within the water and electricity units as a concern.

In the report presented to exco members by Audit Committee chairperson Siboniso Shabalala, the electricity unit was cited as one of the chief offenders with questions on the overtime claims that had been lodged by staff members.

According to the committee chairperson, there were questions about whether overtime was genuinely deserved by staff, with calls for more efficient monitoring measures to ensure staff performed to their optimal level during working hours.

According to the report, overtime costs recorded during the quarter ending on December 31 stood at R76 million.

Kaunda said management should devise methods of dealing with delinquent staff members, including cutting salaries and paying workers for hours worked.

He added that people should demonstrate respect for the workplace and remember they had made a commitment to deliver the best possible service to the city.

“We are an institution that operates with procedures and standards. We cannot have people reporting late for work and then going out for lunch and not coming back but expecting to be paid a full salary in the end.”

The mayor added that it was important for management to take a tough stance against individuals who were not toeing the line.

“We must see people losing money for being late and being absent, this will send a message to the rest of the workforce that when one does not follow the rules there are consequences.”

Kaunda also said that if there were people who were no longer keen on working they should give way to younger people who were eager to make their mark.

Exco members noted that some of the matters raised in the audit report were not new, and questioned whether the city’s management was doing their job. ANC exco member Nkosenhle Madlala said it was important to look at the sources of low productivity, citing low staff morale as one of the possible causes for this.

“We are committed to fixing the issues that have been raised in the report and are ready to give the stick where it is needed,” he said.

Chief financial officer Sandile Mnguni said the matters raised by the audit committee were already receiving urgent attention, with staff morale and productivity issues being addressed through constant workshops held with staff.

He told exco members that they expected the areas of concern highlighted by the audit committee to start showing improvements in the coming months.