SELEBI-PHIKWE: Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Boipolelo Khumomatlhare has ordered officers in positions of authority to address all workers’ grievances within a fortnight, and report back to him.
Speaking during the employees’ general meeting with Minister Slumber Tsogwane this week, Khumomatlhare said the Ombudsman had powers to impose civil imprisonment on him for workers’ grievances that reach his office. “I cannot allow being imprisoned before accounting officers like the Town Clerk and the District Commissioner are imprisoned. The call for service delivery is serious and any worker who cannot keep up should better go home before he/she is dismissed from work,” he said.
Khumomatlhare encouraged accounting officers to attend to employees’ issues before they reach the Ombudsman. “I do not want any report during the phone-in programme concerning unresolved employees’ issues, otherwise the Town Clerk will have to tell me who should be dismissed. This is serious,” he said. He stressed that it must take those in charge only two weeks to clear all the issues, adding that all heads of departments must address staff meetings and meet concerned employees one on one, then give feedback to the ministry. “Employees must also make sure that they deliver to deserve the promotions they want, and those who fail to live up to the ministry’s expectations must pack
Employees complained that promotions came after a long time, were not reviewed nor awarded for performance, inconsistent job grades across councils and lack of understanding of how overtime and double should be calculated. They also said they lived in fear after reports of outsourcing of some jobs; complained of lack of proper channel of communication especially for junior officers, as supervisors tend to sit on issues without passing them to higher authorities, complained that it had been many years since transfers had been stopped. One employee called for the activation of the consultative machineries where union officials meet with council management to discuss pertinent issues. He said that the council’s Local Works Committee is defunct.
“Training and Selection committee must also be implemented. Trade unions must be part of that committee to enhance transparency. We still have the problem where vacancies are filled with officers recruited from elsewhere, instead of promoting available officers,” he said.
The town Clerk explained that the consultative machinery of the union (BLLAHWU) existed before the new Public Service Act that has since cancelled the provisions of the committees.