KwaZulu-Natal municipality has over 100 ‘ghost workers’ receiving salaries

The Msunduzi municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, which manages Pietermaritzburg and is the seat of the KZN legislature, has uncovered over one hundred ‘ghost workers’ on its payroll.

The SABC reported that the municipality’s administrator Scelo Duma discovered the phantom workers following an employee headcount. The municipality was placed into administration in 2019 and faces frequent service delivery protests.

Over 180 employees failed to appear for a headcount over a three month period. Accounting for deaths and resignations, the number of ghost employees was estimated to be around 120.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Senzelwe Mzila said that the measures being put in place since the municipality was put under administration is now bearing fruits.

The Department of Cooperative Governance in KwaZulu-Natal said it is advisable that other municipalities also limit financial risk by verifying their employees.

District Development Model

Government aims to address some of these municipal governance issues through the introduction of the new District Development Model (DDM).

“We are focusing on the appointment of properly qualified officials at a local level to ensure effective management and provision of services,” he said.

The DDM is being spearheaded by Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who will oversee the roll-out of the DDM across 44 districts and the eight metros across the country.

In a September 2020 presentation, Dlamini-Zuma said that the new model will provide for a ‘more tangible, common vision for development’ of the country.

She said that the DDM will also lead to a drastic shift in the financial set up of the country, with the ultimate goal being to unify the finances of each district into a singular budget – known as the ‘One Plan’ and ‘One Budget’.

Dlamini-Zuma has said that the DDM will also lead to the ‘specialisation and reprioritisation’ of every department, state entity and municipality’s plans and budgets.

“The District Development Model is all about how we work together as one government in all our district and metropolitan spaces, even if each sphere, sector or entity has its distinct, interrelated and interdependent constitutional powers, functions and responsibilities.

“In this case working together means planning, budgeting and implementing as one, while we hold each other accountable along the process,” she said.


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KwaZulu-Natal municipality has over 100 ‘ghost workers’ receiving salaries