Plett ratepayers want answers

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Oudtshoorn. 6 February 2013. 09h30. O!O has received a memo from a number of concerned people in Plettenberg Bay and submittd the writ to the newWard 2 DA councillor, Wayne Craig, for comment.

Dear Mr Craig

Re: CREATION OF POLITICAL POSTS IN DA CONTROLLED MUNICIPALITIES.

It is with grave concern that we notice that it has been decided to expand the staff contingent in the office of the Deputy Executive Mayor (DEM) of the Bitou Municipality. (See attached adverts published on 31 January 2013.)

As you may be aware, the DEM already has, what we think is referred to as an “Office Manager” on his support staff. It is estimated that the cost to council of this political position is in the region of R250 000 per annum.

In addition to this the DEM also has a bodyguard which costs the Bitou roughly R600 000 per annum, excluding hotel accommodations etc when applicable.

The DEM also has a driver. We are not able to establish whether or not the salary cost of the driver and/or the DEM’s travel costs are funded by the Bitou Municipality.

We suspect that the total cost to council for the DEM’s staff is somewhere between R850 000 and R1 million per annum.

It is now proposed to add two additional posts to his staff, namely a “Personal Assistant” and a “Clerk: Special Programmes.”

From the advert the PA is required to have all the skills and qualifications one would expect from a PA to a very high level and busy executive in the private sector. The advertised salary is commensurate with that, R127 992 pa.

What rings the alarm bells is that the DEM already has an office manager who does not seem to have any responsibilities at all. We do not believe that it would be unreasonable to expect that that person would also act as PA to the DEM. This is especially so, when one takes into consideration that a DEM has no statutory duties and responsibilities of an administrative nature.

The second advert, for a Clerk: Special Programmes at a salary of R89 678 with essentially identical qualification requirements as that of the PA. What is of special concern is that the functions of the position do not fall within the objects of local government. That would indicate that the Bitou council may not budget money for expenditure thereon and the municipality may not permit such expenditure even if budgeted for. A non-job therefore.

It is made perfectly clear in the adverts that the term of the employment is, “concurrent with the term of office of the office bearer.” From that it is quite evident that this is a political appointment, put differently cadre deployment and/or cronyism, especially in light of the fact that the positions are otiose.

These two positions at a combined cost to council of an estimated R250 000 per annum in salaries alone added to the roughly R900 000 for the existing staff means an additional burden, well in excess of R1million pa is to be placed on the ratepayers of Bitou municipality.

You may or may not be aware that the WC Department of Local Government funded, at not insignificant cost, an Organizational Restructuring process for the Bitou Municipality when it was found that it had no organogram and was heavily over-staffed. The process being conducted by PwC has apparently not yet completed, but we are told that these two non-positions are on the latest organogram. Positions that not even the ANC had the temerity to burden the ratepayer with.

Obviously in order to justify the continued employment of these people significant funds will be required, certainly to keep special programmes going. At this point it is difficult to guess what the cost thereof could be but we submit that it would be reasonable to estimate the cost of programmes to be at least 10 times the salary cost, otherwise there would be no point in establishing the positions. A further R1million or R2 million at least.

If these positions do in fact appear on the organogram, it is unlikely that professional Organisational practitioners would have included them out of need or by their own volition. Under the circumstances one must perforce conclude that these positions are the fruit of political interference in the work of the professional agents appointed by the Provincial Department. It clearly makes a mockery of the whole exercise, rendering the whole process and months of work worthless.

At an estimated cost of between R3 and R4 million pa for an office which should not even exist, it will consume in the region of 1% of the Bitou Municipality’s income from rates and taxes, or a very significant proportion of the percentage increase in these charges last year. Increases we were told were necessitated by the dire financial position the municipality finds itself in due to profligate ANC spending on non-core functions.

Clearly what is happening in the DA controlled Bitou Municipality flies in the face of published DA policies, good governance and even common sense and as DA councilor we look to you to urgently ensure that DA policies are adhered to and this proposed irregular expenditure, cronyism, jobs-for-pals and cadre deployment is stopped. We do not vote for the DA to have ANC policies applied.

The adverts indicate that unseemly haste is the order of the day, with the closing date for applications already past a mere 24 hours after date of publication on 1 February for the Clerk’s position and the PA position on closing on 8 February.

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One thought on “Plett ratepayers want answers

  1. I have one question for the Honourable above.
    How long sir do you think it is going to take for the Taxpayers to get ‘gatvol’ of all these unnecessary and often unauthorised waisteful expenditure, corruption and incompetence before the public start witholding their taxes to all the predatory “elite”and gravy trainers, cause that dear Sir is when your income will disappear over night and the municipality will collapse, all because of political meddling and continued ineptitude that you helped create !!.

    The writing is already on the wall for more than 84% municipalities, Tswane been the latest today who are late in paying salaries. When this starts happening are the people going to come to your house en mass to look for answers and retribution ? Will you be up to the challenge if this happens ?

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