KEETMANSHOOP- As of next month employees of //Kharas Regional Council would no longer be paid overtime and subsistence and travel allowances, as the council struggle to keep up with its operational expenditures and utility bills.
This means employees would no longer have to work after hours, on weekends or public holidays.
Employees for whom work on such times is unavoidable would have their hours converted to leave days, advised a memo sent to council employees.
“As of 1 September 2018, overtime claims for travelling will immediately be stopped, staff members should travel only within official working hours,” read the memo by the Acting Chief Regional Officer Benedictus Diergaardt.
Diergaardt explained that council is currently facing serious financial constraints, hence the need to drastically implement saving measures to mitigate the impacts of the cash flow problems.
According to Diergaardt the subsidy that council receives from the ministry of Urban and Rural Development is mostly used to cater for operational expenditures and to pay utilities. Council’s own income streams have dried up with income not coming in as forecasted.
He added that with regards to subsistence and travel allowance, all invitations to council employees to travel will now go under the microscope and only crucial meetings will be approved. Those who go to meetings just for the sake of claiming subsistence and travel allowances, even when they do not have any background or understanding of such meetings, will not be allowed to travel at all.
“As of subsistence and travel allowance, the council will reconsider all invites for workshops, only crucial invites will be considered and the number of delegates attending will be looked at, and if workshop is not applicable to your section we will not approve it,” he said.
While there remained fears that the financial situation at the council might affect the salaries of the employees, council chairperson Jan Scholtz was quick to dismiss that. He said council has only taken such measures as precaution during difficult economic times as this.
“I do not think this will affect their salaries, this is just a normal practice as we are also experiencing economic headwinds, so it is just precautions,” he said. He explained that one of the reasons such measures were taken is to allow employees to use their leave days, saying council has paid out more for leave days this year, and this usually leaves less money to carry out operations.
“This measures are not only for the employees but also for us as councillors, we all need to reduce our spending and learn to save,” he said. He further called on people at settlements and those having lease agreements to ensure that they pay their dues to council, saying paying for services rendered will help council to generate more income.