Staff of the Department of Local Government in the Eastern Cape was absent from work for an equivalent of 14 years in 2011.
This shocking information was tabled in a report to the Portfolio Committee of Local Government and Traditional Affairs in the Bhisho Legislature last week.
A total of 5 125 sick days were taken between 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011, costing the department R4, 926 million.
Of further concern is that of the 3 329 posts available in the department only 1 593 were filled during the year, resulting in the department operating on a vacancy rate of 52 %.
With local government in crisis in this province it is unacceptable that the department has a high absenteeism rate which in turn delays crucial service delivery to communities.