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Questions over official’s pay hike

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No reason given for the R53 019 per annum increase

Patsy Alley

A WRITTEN complaint was forwarded to the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison regarding a R53 019 per annum increase that was awarded to the MEC’s media liaison officer, Patsy Alley, which went against the advice of the chief financial officer and former HOD, who stated that it would impact on the department’s limited resources.

The letter of complaint pointed out that no reason was provided nor was any job evaluation conducted, in line with the regulations of the ministerial handbook, before the increase was awarded.

The increase was approved when Alley was re-appointed in June this year after the premier had agreed to rescind her provincial cabinet reshuffle and MEC Pauline Williams was reinstated.

The increase was backdated to the date of appointment in November 2016.

The Ministry of Transport, Safety and Liaison, in correspondence dated June 27 2017, advised that Alley should be appointed on salary level 12 (entry level) as a deputy director, backdated to November 1 2016.

Alley, upon the recommendation of MEC Williams, was permanently appointed at the department in November 2016, on salary level 11.

The MEC had, however, issued a directive in October 2016 to appoint Alley on salary level 12, while in January 2017 the department approved an annual increase of R95 454.

In correspondence, the department was advised that the increase to salary level 12 would put “unplanned pressure” on the department’s ability to fulfil its annual performance plan obligations.

It was further cautioned to take into consideration the protection of the department’s compensation of employees budget when permanently appointed officials were absorbed into the department, or when a new executive authority was elected into office.

The written complaint meanwhile also expressed grievances over the re-appointment of Renee Williams as a senior manager in the directorate of policy and planning upon recommendation of the HOD in a letter dated April 25 2017.

Williams submitted her resignation from the department in May 2017.

Williams had been transferred from the Department of Health to a promotional post at the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison in October 2014.

Permission was obtained from Treasury to appoint deputy director, Ms S Zikhali, as acting senior manager for a period not exceeding 12 months, while Williams was appointed on a three-month contract on April 25.

According to sources within the department, Williams was awarded the three-month contract while Zikhali was acting in this position.

“The HOD recommended that Williams act in this position until a permanent replacement had been found. There is someone already acting in this position so it is not necessary to process an appointment that was approved by the MEC.

“The senior manager post was advertised without Treasury’s approval with the intention of appointing Williams, after she was paid out her pension.”

Spokesperson for the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Keitumetse Moticoe, stated that the salaries and benefits of employees were confidential and private.

“We are not at liberty to disclose any such information to the public,” said Moticoe.

She added that officials could be transferred from one department to another on a promotion, according to the Public Service Act.

Moticoe pointed out that no post(s) had been advertised by the department recently.

“Williams is not appointed permanently in the department.”

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) provincial secretary, Boitumelo Pheleo, said that the union would take up both matters with the HOD at a meeting that is scheduled to be held on Monday.

He pointed out that contract workers were paid 37 percent more than permanent workers.

“It does not make any sense for an official to resign and return to the department shortly thereafter. The post should have been advertised and candidates shortlisted,” said Pheleo.

He indicated that lateral transfers between departments could only take place without the post being advertised if it was on the same level and salary notch.

Pheleo added that if one person was awarded massive increases, other officials were also entitled to the same increase without having to undergo job evaluations.

“State departments do not have a bottomless supply of money, while many posts and salary increases were frozen due to cost containment measures. There are officials who have remained on low salary levels for many years without progressing.”