Concern over vacancies in eThekwini Metro

Published Feb 27, 2024


An organogram detailing the staff complement in the eThekwini Municipality shows there are hundreds of vacancies across departments, including in key units that are supposed to be a bulwark against corruption and wrongdoing by officials.

“The Mercury” has seen an organogram detailing the vacancies within various management portfolios which shows close to 232 positions are listed as vacant in the more than 80-page document.

In response to questions on the vacancies, the municipality said it had to re-prioritise budgets to respond to natural disasters. But it was now in the process of filling those vacancies. The organogram appears to be fairly new, with information regarding recent new hires or vacancies.

A long-standing vacancy at the executive level is the position of deputy city manager for economic development and planning which has been vacant for more than a year.

Other vacancies include in the office of the deputy head – fraud prevention and ombuds services, the position of deputy head and senior manager for fraud prevention are vacant. In the office of the head – city integrity and investigations, there are nine positions with five being vacant.

These include the deputy head of forensic investigations, deputy head of fraud prevention and ombuds services and corporate executive (financial misconduct board and consequence management).

In the office of the chief risk officer, vacant positions include three trainee graduates posts and four senior manager positions.

In the office of senior manager – beach management services, of four positions only one is listed as filled.

In the office of the head, Invest Durban, there are five positions, but only two are filled, with the position of head being vacant.

Also concerning are vacancies in the office of the head – disaster management and emergency control, where there are five vacancies and only two positions are filled.

Two senior vacant positions are deputy head, disaster management, and deputy head for emergency control.

IFP leader Mdu Nkosi said it was concerning that so many critical posts were vacant.

“The city manager ought to explain what is the problem with filling them because these vacancies are regularly raised by the AG (auditor-general),” he said.

ActionSA councillor Alan Beesley said the non-filling of the vacancies had an impact on service delivery.

“If the ANC-led municipality was concerned about service delivery, they would ensure these vacancies are filled with competent and ethical officials.”

DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa said: “The city manager must account for critical vacancies that are not filled because that is the reason why service delivery is non-existent in this municipality.”

South African Local Government Association (Salga) KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Thami Ntuli said Salga had not been briefed about vacancies in the City and it would thus be improper to speak on the matter.

“But speaking generally, last week we issued a circular to say that all municipalities must fill vacancies, especially the critical ones.”

Local government expert Mike Sutcliffe said it was concerning that the City had listed that many vacancies.

He said the national government typically frowns on having too many vacancies as that leads to the expectation that they are going to be filled, and this had landed municipalities in trouble before.

EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said the City was working on addressing the vacancies.

“When the City was faced with different disasters in the financial years 2021/2022 and 2022/2023, budgets had to be re-prioritised to deal with the unforeseen emergencies.

“This affected the City’s budget and that is why some vacancies were unfilled at that stage.

“However, most of these positions mentioned here are in the process of being filled,” she said.

Sisilana said the City was embarking on a vigorous recruitment drive.

She added that there was limited impact on service delivery because most of the critical skills posts were filled, and as part of staff development, some employees were given an opportunity to act in vacant positions.

The Mercury