Tsumeb denies favouritism among municipal staff
By Maria Kandjungu
TSUMEB Municipality has defended its decision to employ an academically underqualified accountant, saying the appointment was a promotion for a long serving employee and a way to empower women to move into senior positions.
The appointment of Veronica Shipanga, who obtained a first degree in Marketing from the then Polytechnic of Namibia, as an accountant at Tsumeb Municipality was highlighted with concern by the Auditor General in his report on the council’s dealing for the year ending 2018.
In his report, Junias Kandjeke asked Tsumeb Municipality to explain why they filled a position with somebody who has a qualification in marketing, when the basic requirements for an accountant position necessitate a person to have a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and or in Finance.
According to the municipality’s financial manager Karolina Damaseb, the appointment of the allegedly underqualified accountant was a way for council to promote internal capacity building by promoting its employees while taking into consideration women empowerment in senior posts in terms of affirmative action.
Tsumeb Town Council according to Damaseb “felt that [Shipanga] possesses adequate accounting knowledge and skills” since she had completed two courses in Business Accounting at tertiary level while completing her Marketing degree.
“[She has a] vast accounting background since she worked in the banking industry for seven years before she joined Council,” Damseb further explained.
She added that Shipanga, who joined the municipality in 2016, before the promotion in 2018 worked as a debtor’s clerk at the municipality for about three years, in the course of which she gained experience within the revenue department to qualify for the job, which would be supervised by an accountant.
Shipanga, according to the finance manager is not underqualified as alleged, but has experience with the FINTEL system gained while working at the municipality, a competency that is a basic requirement for accountants.
Another issue that was raised by the AG in the report was a certain plot that was owned by the municipality’s senior accountant and listed under his father’s name on the council’s FINTEL system. Consequently, the account was getting pensioners’ benefits.
Damaseb however refuted the claim that the house is owned by a senior municipal accountant, explaining that the issue arose as a result of two semi-detached houses that were combined and converted into one unit.
“[On] Erf number 492 and 506 is a semi-detached house that has been converted into one unit and occupied by one family, therefore Erf number 506 is not owned by the senior accountant as reflected in the audit report. During the implementation of the General Valuation Roll of 2019, other properties of similar nature were detected… the revenue section is currently busy rectifying.