Bhisho launches a digital ghostbuster


Police have forced some Eastern Cape government officials to hand over documents as a groundbreaking project to digitise records takes off.

Netshilaphala said the conversion to digital would also help the department get rid of “ghost” employees and pupils, while officials with fake qualifications would also be identified with ease.

The new system will also ensure that leave forms are correctly recorded in the personnel and salary system (Persal), she added.

Speaking of the resistance from some officials, Netshilaphala said the worse confrontation was in Sterkspruit last week.

The collection of files had to be delayed for three days while the department was having discussions with union members.

Other districts where police and locksmiths had to be called in were Cofimvaba, Lady Frere and Queenstown.

The unions are adamant that thousands of jobs will be lost when the e-filing system becomes fully operational.

Similar protests spread to the Zwelitsha headquarters yesterday, as workers refused to hand over the required personnel files.

“My stance is, this is where the population of the Eastern Cape has to stand and be counted,” said Netshilaphala.

“What do they want?

“Should processes be dictated by a few people with loud voices who are more about doing other things than improving the quality of life of our young people?

“We can be thrown out and be fired for taking a stance, but at this point in time I am prepared to be fired for this project.

“The population of the Eastern Cape has to decide what it wants.”

But at the same time Netshilaphala reassured workers, saying the digitisation did not threaten their jobs.

She said all they wanted to do was establish whether taxpayers were paying the right person for a job they were qualified to do.

“It is important to know whether we have a file for each and every person we are paying.

“Often, if you do not have a file, that’s a quick indication that that person might be a ghost.

“When it comes to that, we will have to terminate.

“But we will be very interested to find out who created that person in the system and ask them nicely why they created someone who does not exist.

“That’s where consequence management will come in,” she explained.

“We want to stop leakages and work fast and better.

“If a teacher does not get paid for six or eight months, it’s very difficult to see how that teacher is providing quality education to our pupils because that teacher is aggrieved.

“One of the things that we will be doing is qualification verification. Wait until we get there,” said Netshilaphala.

Neither the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) nor the National Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) leaders could be reached for comment yesterday. —

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