- After paying municipality workers twice, the Nkomazi Local Municipality in Mpumalanga is now faced with recovering around R18 million
- However, the employees have threatened to shut down municipal services if the funds are deducted
- The situation has escalated in a stand-off between the workers and the municipality with no indication of a solution
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A mistake by Nkomazi Local Municipality's finance department has set them back R18 million and left the cash-strapped entity battling against its workers.
City Press reports that the error saw officials paid 10 days earlier than normal, prompting retaliation when the municipality attempted to rectify the mistake by not paying employees on the 25th as usual.
All water treatment plants and other municipal functions were shut down, strong-arming the council to pay out salaries a second time in an attempt to contain the situation.
With the financial year-end fast approaching, the municipality in the Mpumalanga province - with Malalane as its seat - is now desperately attempting to recover the funds.
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However, employees are adamant that they will resort to similar measures if their salaries are in any way affected, while the municipality has implemented a 20% deduction on all wages.
Nkomazi spokesperson Cyril Ripinga confirmed the mistake, revealing that the employee responsible had reportedly considered suicide after what he describes as a 'genuine mistake'.
Mpumalanga SA Municipal Workers Union secretary Saul Simelane raised concerns over the blanket deduction, worried that individual financial circumstances weren't taken into consideration:
“The correct procedure is that there should be consent from individual workers for deductions to be made. Some of our members cannot afford the 20% deductions. The viable solution is to determine how much each employee can afford."
Briefly.co.za gathered that the municipality works on a modest R1.1 billion annual budget, with 70% of this amount provided for by the national fiscus.
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