Metro warned on over­time pay­outs

The Herald (South Africa) - - News - Siyam­tanda Capa ca­pas@ti­soblack­

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.

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