Municipal finance system: Employees on go slow

Posted in Latest News

Lentswe, Klerksdorp - Municipal employees who are members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) have embarked on a go slow strike since Thursday 23 November. The frustration of a financial system that is failing the municipality and its residents has taken its toll on them.

The City procured a new financial system (Phoenix) in July this year and has since then had countless problems. Residents have not received accounts for the past two months.

A representative of SAMWU who wishes to remain anonymous told Lentswe that employees are highly frustrated with the new system. “It has been five months of utter chaos. We want to assist the public but are not able to give correct balances to clients. Everybody complains about lazy employees, but they do not understand our frustration and our challenges,” he said.

Lentswe reported in August that the new Phoenix system comes at a cost of around R30 million and that the old Venus system could have been upgraded to be compliant with National Treasury regulations at a much lower cost of around R1 million.

In a council meeting held this week the Mayor of Matlosana, Cllr Maitu Kgaile requested that a report be submitted to council following a barrage of questions by councillors some of who said that they were misled by the company who supplied the new system.

Samwu has given the Municipal Manager and CFO until today (30 November) to implement a system that works so that they can deliver services to the community. “We have been in meetings with the MM, CFO and CEO of the supplier and they have promised us training and a system that will work. We have not seen any of these promises materialize.”

He also told of an incident where a resident allegedly paid R1500 into the Phoenix system and when it was transferred to the old system it reflected as R150. The matter of two account numbers were also mentioned in Tuesday’s council meeting and was said to be the result of the two systems not being compatible.

“Our members no longer want to be associated with this new system as they fear they will be implicated in the mess,” the Samwu representative added.

In the meantime the municipality is paying for two systems which run concurrently while losing millions due to accounts not going out to account holders.