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Mashaba to cut posts for lean city governance

By Isaac Mahlangu | 2017-10-13 11:00:36.0

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba's plan to shed excess weight from the city's administration has sparked fears of looming retrenchments.

The city plans to integrate all 15 municipal entities into one structure under the city manager. Mashaba wants the change to be completed in 18 months.

Mashaba's spokesman Luyanda Mfeka said the looming changes in the "Staff Establishment Plan and Institutional Review Report" was approved by council last week.

"The objective of this ... is to enhance organisational effectiveness and performance, reduce operational costs, eliminate duplications, improve service delivery and increase customer satisfaction levels."

The changes will lead to dozens of positions becoming redundant. Currently, more than 25 senior personnel posts don't form part of the new structure.

These entities have their own supply-chain, human resources, communications and marketing departments, among others, which were also expected to be affected.

Mashaba has slammed how these entities, which are central to service delivery, were independently controlled by boards, impacting negatively on services they rendered.

The new structure will see all 15 municipal entities including the city's cash cow City Power, Joburg Water, Johannesburg City Parks, Johannesburg Zoo and Pikitup being "reintegrated" back into the city's administration.

On Wednesday, Mashaba addressed a tense closed meeting attended by board members of all the city's entities in Braamfontein, in which he outlined the plans to create a lean government which would improve service delivery.

"Mayor Mashaba highlighted the challenge of having 38 senior personnel reporting into the city manager . presented an untenable situation which was not conducive to effective governance," Mfeka said.

Employees were already foreseeing "unavoidable" job losses due to the changes.

"With so many departments going to be merged, obviously a lot of jobs will become redundant and others will easily find themselves without jobs," said an employee speaking on condition of anonymity.

The ANC in Johannesburg has criticised the move, saying it was done without proper due diligence.

Samwu Johannesburg's Bafana Zungu said: "We are shocked that the city has . approved a new structure without consulting us, that's in violation of the Labour Relations Act . it's difficult to interpret it [the new structure] but we will be engaging the city on it going forward."