The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has revealed that the Department of Social Development (DSD) has paid a whopping R1.6 million to a worker who has been on leave for 67 months.
This was revealed in a written reply by the department to the party’s parliamentary questions last month.
Adding insult to injury, the department has forked out millions of rands on numerous departmental officials who are either suspended, sick or just plain absent.
The party has since called on social development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza to urgently account to the provincial portfolio committee following the revelation.
“Most shocking is the discovery that the department has forked out a staggering R7.4 million on those who are suspended,” the DA said in a statement.
“In the case of the two individuals who have been absent for more than five years, one has been off work for the past 67 months and has been paid R1.6 million in the interim. The other has been suspended for the past 61 months yet has still received a salary of just over R1.5 million during this time.”
“The DSD also paid R483,361 to staff who were absent during the past financial year and an additional R52,355 to those who were absent without approval. The latter has, however, been recovered by the department.”
The party said that it was “extremely alarmed” by these findings.
“Eight of the 10 suspended officials also earn more than R80,000 per month. This means they are either senior officials or possibly management, yet they have been sitting at home for eight months,” the DA said.
“The question that the MEC must answer as a matter of urgency is, why is it taking so long for these disciplinary proceedings to be finalised?”
In the case of the individuals who have been off for the past five years, there can be no reasonable excuse whatsoever.
The DA said it had since written to the chairperson of the KZN social development portfolio committee requesting that the MEC be called to account before its members, “preferably at a special committee meeting to be convened to deal solely with the issue”.
“During this meeting the DA expects the MEC to report on the progress of the disciplinary proceedings and general absence of staff,” the party said.
In the reply the department conceded that:
- Ten officials are suspended, with two having been off work for more than the past five years each.
- 130 officials took a total of 343 sick days during the past financial year.
- 10 staff were absent, some repeatedly, without approval on 81 days during the same period.