Metro warned on overtime payouts
Just three months into the new financial year, the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has spent about R32m on overtime, with a large sum of the money going towards the safety and security department.
The city has budgeted R137m for overtime payments for the 2018/19 financial year.
However, acting chief financial officer Jackson Ngcelwane has warned that if the municipality does not implement its new overtime policy, it is likely to overspend on its overtime budget by R50m by the end of the financial year in June.
“At this early stage in the financial year, it again appears that [departments] are not managing their respective overtime budgets,” he said.
“If the trend is maintained, it is projected the budget will overspend by R50m.
“The council should give serious consideration to lift the moratorium on the implementation of the new overtime policy,” Ngcelwane wrote.
Should the trend continue, it would add to the city’s financial woes, with the collection revenue at 78% in September against a target of 94%.
Also, the rising consumer debt and additional costs as a result of council’s decision to insource 460 security staff are adding further pressure to the city’s coffers.
By September, the safety and security department had spent R8.1m of its R32m overtime budget for the entire year. Other top spenders are: Electricity and energy at R5.8m, water and sanitation at R4.7m, public health at R3.6m and sanitation at R2.9m.
The municipality is reworking its new overtime policy that came into effect on October 1 2017.
The new policy was not well received by municipal workers and unions and resulted in strike action that lasted more than a week.
Until October 1, qualifying employees could claim timeand-a-half for each hour of overtime worked on Saturdays and double time for work on Sundays, according to the 2011 collective agreement.
Human resources acting executive director Nosipho Xhego said the policy had recently been discussed with all the relevant role-players.
Xhego said the amended policy would probably be presented at a council meeting scheduled for January.
“One of our cost-containment measures speaks to the issue of overtime. Legislation is clear on how much of the budget should go towards the wage bill,” Xhego said.
“The overtime policy will also be clear on the maximum number of hours that is within legislation.”
A decision to put the new overtime policy on hold was taken at a council meeting on November 30 2017 after a motion by the EFF to have it scrapped altogether.
After robust debate, it was decided to put a moratorium on the implementation of the policy, giving the city six months to review the document and allow for further discussions with unions.
Bay Samwu secretary Melikhaya Kortjan said they were yet to submit their views on a document which summarised the policy.
“We feel that the previous policy is what worked best for the workers,” Kortjan said.
“The policy which came after the [2016 local government elections] was troublesome as it changed things and caused havoc in the municipality.
“We hope the municipality will correct this in no time because we are ready to make our submissions.”
Kortjan said they had not seen the amended overtime policy, but meetings were ongoing with the city.
“Unfortunately, the employer has only given us a summary report and not the draft document and what we remain clear on is that we will not accept the overtime policy [before it was reviewed].”
Imatu regional manager Churchhill Mothapo also said they were yet to see the draft policy and would consider amendments then.