A hi-tech attendance system, which is to go out to tender, will cut down instances of staff illicitly ditching work, thus saving eThekwini municipality millions. Picture: Bheki Mbanjwa
Durban - The eThekwini municipality is set to install hi-tech time attendance data collection devices at many of its sites, as it seeks to keep tabs on staff and clamp down on R142 million in losses this year, owing to illicit leave jaunts.

The city believes that installing the biometric readers would lead to savings as there will be “reliable and rigorous recording of leave, overtime and short time”.

A city report before exco states that the value of lost time had tripled in the past 10 years.

“In 2007, the value of lost time annually was assessed by Management Services and Organisational Development to be in excess of R46 million per annum and this has tripled since then, to approximately R142m per annum in 2017,” reads the report.

It further states that the system would see reduced payroll inflation as a result of curbing “buddy punching” – where employees fraudulently increase the number of hours worked by having a co-worker sign them in even if they are not at the work site.

The city envisages that a time management software complemented by the biometric readers will, at a later stage, be integrated into the Human Resources and Payroll system for effective management control.

Sites with more than 200 employees, which are ideal for the implementation of the project, include Springfield Complex, the Old Fort Complex, Florence Mkhize Building, Shell House and Rennie House.

It is expected that the operating and capital costs for the implementation of the project could cost the city of R84m. 

City treasurer Krish Kumar said the project would be put out to open tender. 

This was in response to a question from DA Councillor Heinz de Boer who asked if it will be awarded through section 36, which allows the municipality to bypass normal tender processes. 

Kumar said the priority in terms of implementation would be at sites with the biggest footprint.

The Mercury