Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality (MAP) in the Free State is currently re-developing a new organisational structure to correct irregular appointments made in 2017, resulting in a bloated staff complement.
Ongoing staff audits have so far discovered that out of the 1 300 employees at the municipality, there are 25 whose employment records cannot be verified.
Also, at least four senior managers responsible for planning, budget, expenditure and supply chain management are currently on suspension pending investigations into alleged corruption.
The exercise by MAP comes after the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Provincial Whip for Free State, Itumeleng Ntsube, urged the local authority to urgently root out ghost employees in the payroll of the embattled municipality.
In his report to parliament on Wednesday, Ntsube noted, “It is unbelievable that the municipality has not dealt with these irregular appointments dating back to 2017. They should root out these ghost employees so that they can channel resources where they are needed.”
The municipality is in such a financial mess that its main bank account has been attached for the past four months, raising concern about where its next equitable share, due in December, will be deposited.
The newly-appointed municipal manager at MAP, Futhuli Mothamaha, said the new administration is working hard to ensure the situation is corrected before December.
“The Hawks are already on-site doing investigations of cases of alleged corruption. We have a proper financial recovery plan which, once approved by the council, we will be discussing with Eskom to correct the situation that has led to the attaching of our accounts,” indicated Mothamaha.
He added they also have a human resource revival plan to deal with the staff “with no requisite skills and professionalism”.
Maluti-A-Phofung chief financial officer Jemina Mazinyo said they are busy with a headcount of all municipal employees.
So far the municipality has discovered that 17 of the 25 employees who cannot be verified have no contracts or appointment letters.
The remaining eight were found to have bank accounts that did not correspond with municipal records, she said.
The administrator recently handed back the management of the municipality to the Council after it was placed under section 139 (1) (b) intervention in February 2018.
The area has chronic electricity supply challenges due to tampering and illegal connections, and owes Eskom about R3.5 billion.
The National Council of Provinces delegation continued with its hybrid Provincial Week interaction with the Mangaung Metro and Metsimaholo Local Municipality on governance challenges, progress made and achievements so far.