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Senior eThekwini Municipality staff among those who owe the city

Durban City Hall. Senior eThekwini Municipality staff among those who owe the city. File Picture: Terry Haywood

Durban City Hall. Senior eThekwini Municipality staff among those who owe the city. File Picture: Terry Haywood

Published Jan 4, 2022

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DURBAN - STAFF members, including those at management level, in the eThekwini Municipality are among those failing to pay their municipal accounts on time.

The latest report put before council showed that this group is in debt to the tune of R30 million for services.

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Councillors and ward committee members from the previous term are also owing.

The combined debt of councillors, municipal staff and ward committee members for the month of September was R34.5 million.

The figures are contained in a report that was tabled before the executive committee in December. It covered the months between September and July.

It showed that the municipality is owed billions of rand by various stakeholders that include residents and members of government.

Opposition parties in the council said it was concerning that staff members were among those owing, saying they could not see a reason why senior managers, who are well paid, would fall behind on their payments.

The Mercury reported in January last year that close to 3 000 staff members were in debt and owed the council R22m for rates and services, with the executive, senior managers and managers contributing R1.8m to the spiralling debt.

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The latest report showed that a total of 2 739 staff members owed the municipality over R30m.

The breakdown for the month of September, the last month recorded, shows that 35 staff members at the executive and senior management level owed the municipality R955 186. This is down from R1.2m in August.

There were 120 staff members at management level who owed R1.7m; in August there were 115 staff members who owed R1.8m.

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It showed that there were 2 584 ordinary staff members who owed R27m in the month of September.

In addition, there were 29 councillors who owed R448 000 in September and 273 ward committee members who owed R3.8m.

The report said staff members and councillors were also subjected to the credit control policy that includes disconnections, redlining with the credit bureaus and legal processes.

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“Monthly salary deductions from staff accounts are also done with the deductions being limited to 25% of the net salary,” it said.

It said the list of staff who were in arrears is also sent regularly to the head of the unit and staff members could use their leave days to settle their debts.

Thabani Miya of the EFF said there was a policy in place that stipulated that staff members could not be in arrears with the municipality for more than three months, and if that happens, the municipality should automatically start deductions.

He said it was a serious concern when senior executives were among those who owed for services and it was something that the party would raise in council.

IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said the council should take tough action, especially against those who earn high salaries.

“When you speak of senior managers, those are people that earn a lot of money, there is no reason why they would be behind on their payments.

“This is about policy and the policy states that you cannot owe the municipality money when you work for it,” said Nkosi.

DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa said the municipality should strengthen its internal systems and deal with the officials and councillors that were owing.

“We also need to clean up the billing system, there have been instances where it’s been said that people were owing when in fact they were not,” he said.

THE MERCURY

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