‘R65m gone from KSD accounts’

Union asks public protector to probe alleged ‘looting’

The SA Municipal Workers Union wants the public protector to investigate the apparent disappearance of R65m in KSD.
Samwu KSD chair Lwazi Madyibi believes that at least R65-million was siphoned from municipal coffers meant to pay money owed to staff since 2009.
The Daily Dispatch reported earlier this year that angry municipal workers stormed KSD’s Enkululekweni council chambers where councillors were holding a meeting and held them to ransom, demanding payment of their task grade money.
They said they were still being paid according to post-1994 transitional local council grades despite the municipality pro-mising in 2010 to update the system and align their wages with their counterparts at other local authorities.
Madyibi said about R24m, given to KSD by National Treasury as part of its municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) meant to revive ailing infrastructure had instead been diverted to paying off the task grade backlog.
“Under normal circumstances we would have raised this here [with management] but we tried to speak with them to no avail. They don't recognise us as a structure,” he said. “Thus we went to the public protector to investigate, because the whole process [of calculating the payouts] was flawed.”
He said some people received millions and others very little, while some were still waiting for anything at all.
The Dispatch has seen a document where three people, who Madyibi said were managers, received R1.9m, R1.6m and R1.5m respectively.
Some supervisors who had started work around the same time received R4,000. Still others received over R50,000.
Some general workers received almost R100,000 in outstanding task grade payouts. “Processes were not followed. No placements had taken place. That also includes no job evaluations being done at all.”
Madyibi said: “We don't know how much was spent on this [task grade payout]. Unions are in the dark and yet there are people who forced the municipality to sign a blank cheque.”
The first payments went to municipal workers on June 13. This was followed by more over the following months. He said initially the payments did not reflect on the workers' payslips until Samwu queried this. After that the money was listed as outstanding on the payslips.
In the letter written to the public protector, Samwu says: “We have reason to believe that in the past few months, there has been a glaring misappropriation of funds by a selected few. We have tried in vain to meet our management about the suspected looting, hence we request your assistance.
“We believe that at the centre of this are certain managers and their cronies who unduly benefited themselves huge amounts of cash.”
The Dispatch has seen a document from the public protector's Mthatha office acknowledging receipt of the complaint and undertaking to establish whether the law allowed them to investigate it. Oupa Segwale, the national public protector's office spokesperson, confirmed a complaint had been lodged with their Mthatha-based office. KSD municipal spokesperson Sonwabo Mampoza said he would comment on Friday...

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