Questions over “resolved” Durban disciplinary cases
Durban - The workers’ unions have questioned the procedure applied by ethekwini Municipality in dealing with the backlog of disciplinary cases after the mayor announced considerable progress.
A number of senior managers and junior employees in the municipality were internally charged for various reasons and, in some cases, the municipality had to use the services of a private contractor to conduct disciplinary hearings.
More than 350 municipal employees faced charges ranging from fraud, corruption, mismanagement and irregular expenditure.
Recently, Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda told the executive committee that the municipality has made considerable progress in reducing the backlog of outstanding disciplinary cases.
However, unions slammed the mayor’s pronunciation saying no progress has been made in serious cases involving senior officials.
The city hired Morar Incorporated, an accounting and auditing firm, to handle the disciplinary processes at a cost of R39 million over 24 months.
The move was criticised by the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) and the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) which claimed the city did not comply with sections of the Disciplinary Procedure Collective Agreement in taking action against their members.
Kaunda said the backlog of cases as of October 31, 2019 was 335 formal and informal hearings.
“As of the February 28, 2021, 128 of 233 formal hearings have been resolved and a total of 91 out of 102 informal hearings have been resolved.
“We commend the senior management of the municipality for speeding up this process as it will send a clear message to the public that we are committed to running a clean and responsive administration,” said Kaunda.
Queen Mbatha, chairperson of Imatu which represents some of the charged employees, said they were not aware of any cases resolved in the senior management.
“Clearly, the mayor is referring to minor cases involving junior employees whose consequence would be written warnings. There are several cases involving senior managers which we have not heard of ever since they were charged. We worried about this pronouncement because the procedure has not been so transparent in some cases. The municipality appointed a private company to address the backlog, according to our understanding no progress has been made in all those cases,” said Mbatha.
Mluleki Mntungwa, the mayoral spokesperson would not disclose the number of senior managers who have been suspended or disciplined.
He said the leadership was ensuring that all the cases were resolved with urgency after lockdown delays.
Asked about the consequences of the disciplinary hearing, Mntungwa said the information could be available from the human resources department which was not available to provide the information.