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Wasteful expenditure

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If you were running your own business, would you really employ two people to do the same job?

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The SOL Plaatje Municipality appointed a guy with a Grade 5 – the equivalent of a Standard Three for those of us who are still old school – as a senior clerk in the Corporate Services Division.

By their own admission, the post needed someone with a Grade 12.

Everyone needs to be given a chance and well done to the successful applicant, who obviously showed promise in the interview.

What a wonderful career success story – here is someone who went to night school as an adult, completing his Abet (Adult Basic Education) Grade 5 to land himself a good job that would earn him a decent salary.

The problem is though that the clerk didn’t manage to complete his on-the-job training, which would have given him the basics of how to operate a computer, do some filing and working out how many copies to print (one would presume that means basic arithmetic skills).

Additional training was suggested – but he didn’t manage to complete this either and instead found himself struggling to perform the duties for which he was appointed.

So the municipality decided to give another official an extra R4 000, increasing his package to R53 000 a month, to help the now trained Grade 5 candidate to do the job for which he was employed.

Then the municipality, which found it was spending way too much on legal fees, appointed a legal adviser at a cost of
R1 million a year.

Before this appointment, legal fees amounted to as much as R2 million a quarter, which was considered fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Despite the appointment of its own legal adviser, however, the municipality still uses external legal advisers at a cost of tens of thousands of rand a month.

This is the same municipality that recently decided that severe cost-cutting measures need to be put in place as it is struggling to meet its monthly financial commitments.

The budget for street light maintenance, for example, has been cut. Just recently a couple was accosted in their home by a burglar – the street lights, according to a neighbour, weren’t working at the time.

This is the same municipality that is cutting electricity to pensioners and indigents for non-payment of their municipal bills.

Let’s be honest. If you were running your own business, would you really employ two people to do the same job?

Officials should never to allowed to give jobs to friends – or anyone for that matter – if they do not have the necessary skills.

This isn’t your money you are working with, therefore you are even more accountable to the ratepayers of the city to ensure that the best person is appointed every time and value for money is guaranteed with every penny spent.