eThekwini’s massive R1.2bn overtime bill shock
Durban – The eThekwini Municipality is battling to control rampant abuse of overtime pay by its employees, with the latest report showing the City paid over a billion rand in overtime in the last financial year.
Despite the exorbitant bill, the report revealed a task team set up by the City last year to rein in the abuse met only three times and had done little, or nothing, to address the runaway expenditure.
A damning report by the City’s external Audit Committee, tabled before the executive committee members yesterday, revealed the City paid about R1.2 billion in overtime pay in the financial year ending May this year, an increase of R100 million from the previous financial year.
The wide-ranging report also tackled other deficiencies in the City’s financial performance, including irregular and unauthorised expenditure the City was also struggling to rein in.
The report was not discussed fully by the councillors, as they asked for the discussions to be held next week to give management time to formulate responses to the issues highlighted.
However, the revelations stunned opposition councillors who said these were ongoing problems they raised yearly with no efforts on the part of City officials to address them.
The chairperson of the audit committee Nala Mhlongo said the overtime pay was concerning.
“It is expected that people will work overtime, but for overtime pay to exceed a billion rand is very concerning.”
The report stated, “For 11 months ending May 31, 2020, the City spent R1.2 billion in overtime payments which is an increase (from R1.1bn) on the previous year's payments.
“Through an analysis of overtime hours claimed by business units between March and May 2020, non- compliance with Basic Conditions of Employment limit of 40 hours of overtime per month was noted.
“It was noted that for May, some employees claimed overtime pay above their basic salary by up to 345% with overtime hours ranging from 144 and 394 per employee.
“The City formed an overtime task team in February 2019 and it has only met thrice since then. The above results do not display any effectiveness on the part of the task team and the internal auditors could not find any evidence that there are action plans in place to address the overtime challenges and no corrective actions have been taken.”
IFP caucus leader Mdu Nkosi said it was frustrating to deal with the same problems every year.
“We must thank the committee that they still have patience to tell us the same thing over and over again and we are not doing anything about it. With regard to the overtime, it should be clarified which department is racking up this overtime. There is something wrong when the overtime is a billion rand, he said.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said the report showed there were repeat offences.
“We need clearer direction (from management). We cannot close the year in the current situation that we find ourselves in. There must be action that would detail what has been done if anything and what still needs to be done.”