The impact of amalgamation on human resources practice in eThekwini municipality
Madondo, Siphiwe E.
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The amalgamation of municipalities came into effect as a legislative requirement brought about a number of challenges for the local government. One such major challenge relates to the impact that these amalgamations will have on human resource practices of the various municipalities. Literature study reveals that during any merger or amalgamation, less attention is paid to the human element of a merger until the merger is almost complete. This lack of attention impacts negatively on the merger results. Like other municipalities, Ethekwini Municipality is a product of this legislative requirement. It was formed as a result of the amalgamation of different municipal entities that had different human resource practices. The problem facing eThekwini Municipality is the misalignment of human resources policies and their effect on the working environment. This study looks at the impact of this amalgamation on the human resources practices of the eThekwini Municipality. The sub-objectives of the study are: to ascertain employees' perceptions of amalgamation; to determine whether employees believe that the human resources' matters are handled in a manner that will bring about stability and equity in the workplace; and to establish whether different perceptions exist between employees of the former Durban Metro Central and those of the erstwhile entities. A stratified random probability sample of 150 employees was selected. The sample was drawn from 5 former entities that now form eThekwini Municipality, namely: Inner-west, Outer-west, Metro Central, North and South Operational entities. Using face-to-face interviews, employees were asked to complete a questionnaire. The results of the research revealed that there was generally a positive perception of the amalgamation process amongst employees. The study also revealed that different perceptions exist between the employees of the former entities and those of Metro central It is recommended that, during a merger, management should have detailed work plans. The plans should detail how the organization will deal with the structure of the organization, its people, culture, technology and processes. Secondly, management should consider a total reward system as opposed to total cost package.