Ekurhuleni freezes jobs in crackdown on overtime abuse
The Star has seen an internal document detailing how junior staff in the department were flouting overtime policies.
Implicated staff include an executive manager, a rounds collector, litter collectors, transfer facilitators and administrators. One rounds collector at the Kempton Park depot clocked 212 hours in February last year. This was in addition to the 160 he was contracted to work a month.
His colleague at the depot racked an extra 175 hours, 132 hours and 157 hours between January and March last year.
These hours translate to the employees almost doubling their monthly salaries in overtime claims.
Now, due to the rampant abuse of overtime, the council has resolved to cap each claim at 40 hours a month, and 176 positions have been frozen.
In the 2015/2016 financial year, the waste department exceeded its annual overtime budget by 73.7% to an amount of R88.3 million, records show.
“The overspending is most likely as a result of the department’s overtime spending, which has seen the department overspend on it for four consecutive quarters,” the report states.
This, the report adds, “should further provoke the oversight committee into seeking reasons for the overspending, which had seen a sharp rise in expenditure between the 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial years.
However, the committee was wary of freezing so many vacant job posts that could allow the department to run more efficiently.
“When these are allowed to be vacant, even for a single day, it will put a strain on effective and efficient waste management services delivery in the metro,” the report states.
Ekurhuleni spokesperson Themba Gadebe said the measures had been implemented according to a National Treasury circular instructing all municipalities to employ cost-cutting measures.
These included the reduction of overtime “in a manner that will not compromise service delivery”, he added.
“It is for this reason that the council took a decision to limit overtime to 40 hours a month. This principle is in line with the Labour Relations Act, which stipulates that overtime should be limited to 40 hours,” Gadebe added.
“Mayor Mzwandile Masina explained that the city would pay special attention to cost-cutting measures. In line with this, the city has already taken action with regard to overseas trips, fleet management and other costs.”
Regarding the frozen posts, he said this was only a temporary measure for five months, between February and June this year. He said the measure was to identify savings, which would address “urgent municipal priorities”.
“It is important to note that the positions identified for freezing are those that were vacant. It is also important to note that the department may begin with a recruitment process of the positions that are frozen, with a condition that successful candidates will start in July,” said Gadebe.