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eThekwini reviewing staff performance management policy, councillors say quality of services must improve

DA councillor Nicole Graham said there was a disconnect between the services delivered to residents and the benefits employees got.

File Picture: Durban City Hall. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 1, 2022

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Durban - eThekwini Municipality has issued a stern warning to lazy employees, saying their salaries and benefits should be commensurate with the quality of the services they deliver to the city’s residents.

Councillors from across party lines agreed that the performance and number of workers employed by the city did not reflect in the quality of services delivered to communities.

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This emerged during a discussion about a review of the city’s Performance Management Policy, which aims to tighten controls and ensure that service delivery is improved in line with the city’s Intergrated Development Plan (IDP) objectives.

DA councillor Nicole Graham said there was a disconnect between the services delivered to residents and the benefits employees got.

The ANC’s Nkosenhle Madlala concurred, saying the benefits workers received from the city should be in line with the services provided to the public.

The level of performance of municipal workers has been the subject of complaints for some time now, with mayor Mxolisi Kaunda being the latest high-ranking politician to raise his concerns.

Kaunda warned that workers needed to improve their work ethic, or they could face sanctions.

He said that despite the city having more than 20 000 workers on its payroll, this was not reflected in their performance and service delivery.

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He said there was no room for lazy workers in the city.

Kaunda even took the department of parks and recreation to task over its habit of staging social events, warning that the unit should instead focus on its core mandate of cutting grass and maintaining parks.

The demand for better performance comes with city workers already coming under fire from community members who are angry about poor service delivery.

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Recently, a Durban resident took pictures of DSW employees “taking a break” in the morning.

The report on the matter tabled before council yesterday said a review of the Performance Management Policy was necessary to align the organisation’s performance and to achieve the objectives and targets stipulated in the IDP.

“If there is no clearly defined performance standard and job expectation for an individual or teams in the workplace, there will be a lack of understanding of what justifies job excellence against poor work performance. It was reported that shortfalls were identified in the previous Performance Management Policy, hence the policy review is intended to address these and improve the measurement of employee performance,” the report read.

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It advised that the Revised Performance Management Policy as contained in a report by the acting head of Human Capital be adopted.

Graham said the DA was concerned about the state of performance management in the city.

“We do not think this policy is far-reaching enough to get to the core of our concerns. The problem here is that we really have an out of control system of management for staff. We are paying increased salary notches and bonuses without really having control of what the employees are doing. More than half of employees are claiming overtime on a monthly basis.

“We see regular strikes and labour disruption. We can’t have a policy that does not get to the core of the issues. We need the way the employees work in the city to be mirrored with service delivery in the community, and there is a big disconnection there.

“Until we have policies that are managed accordingly, the DA won't just sit back and say it’s all fine – it's not fine,” said Graham.

ANC councillor Madlala agreed with some of the issues raised by opposition parties, saying it was important that residents were given services that reflected what they paid in rates.

“As the ANC we note the concerns raised by various stakeholders in the city. The policy will go some way toward resolving some of those issues. We need to go a step further in ensuring that management controls are there to ensure that performance management is done in a way that improves performance, improves efficiency and ensures that residents receive the kind of service delivery that is commensurate with the kind of money paid to employees,” he said.

He promised that other reports that spoke directly to this would be brought before council.

“We commit that we are going to change things, and that the change will be noticeable,” said Madlala.

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