By ROD AMNER
A moratorium was placed on non-emergency overtime from the start of June 2022 at a Makana Council meeting on 27 May.
This is to stop excessive overtime costs, which were over R1-million a month.
In an official statement, Makana Municipality said its work teams would only work during regular working hours.
“No call outs will be attended to after hours unless it is a pre-approved emergency. There will be no working during weekends and public holidays unless it’s a pre-approved emergency. Therefore, all reported faults will be attended to the next morning,” the statement said.
The only service undertaken after hours is the closing and opening water in light of ongoing water restrictions and exceptional emergencies. Despite this undertaking, on Friday, 3 June, a torrent of water from overflowing dams at the Waainek Water Treatment Works entered the Mountain Drive road when valves were left open.
In February, Makana Residents’ Association secretary Tim Bull reported that overtime claims had risen from about R500 000 per month in 2016 to a record-breaking R1 234 128 in January 2022.
“In 2016, Makana Council voted unanimously for a resolution to place an embargo on overtime. The Municipal Manager and his directors have direct responsibility for managing overtime, so you might think that the embargo would have led to a cut in overtime,” Bull wrote.
Instead, overtime rose.
The anomalies were many. Bull asked why there was overtime for libraries, parks, stores, the caravan park, community halls, parks transport and sports grounds.
“It would be simple enough to tell these non-emergency groups that there is ‘No Overtime’,” he said.
“You probably know that Parks Department had a lot of equipment stolen [in 2021], and it was evident that most Parks Dept staff, if they have attended work at all, rarely arrived at 8 am and mostly left before midday. When questioned, they said, ‘What’s the point in being at work when there are no tools?’.”
“This situation was rectified in late January when Makana purchased new tools. But, it is hardly satisfactory that staff have been paid for months of no work. But it is unbelievable that Parks Department has also carried on claiming overtime!”
“The monthly average claimed for maintaining ‘Islands and Verges’ is over R42 000 per month for the months when they had no weed-eaters or grass-cutting equipment. It peaked at Christmas, when nobody was at work, at R47,682.”
Then, on 25 May, anti-corruption Makana Parks and Recreation manager Jeff Budaza was murdered outside his home on 25 May.