Union wants intervention in CoW affairs

By Confidente Reporter

THE Namibia Local Authority Workers Union (NALAWU) has called on Urban and Rural Development Minister Peya Mushelenga to intervene in what it termed serious administrative malpractice and injustices at the City of Windhoek perpetrated by councillors and political office bearers.

In a lengthy letter to Mushelenga, dated 19 May that was also copied to City of Windhoek CEO Robert Kahimise, NALAWU president Cornelius Tjivahe said he was disappointed by the broad daylight malpractice, irregular holding of council meetings to benefit the pockets of councillors at the expense of salaried staff, the irregular appointment of City Police chief Abraham Kanime, nepotism and the abuse of positions of trust at the council.

He said some councillors have turned the municipality into a cash cow while turning a blind eye to the plight of other staff members.

“While council is … in financial dire straits to the extent, among others, it cannot afford salary increments of its staff member, the political office bearers/city councillors have now turned the City of Windhoek into a milking cow and thus solicit any opportunity that comes their way to have council meetings at any given opportune time, and even over the weekends, only to benefit from the sitting allowances.

“This practice is not only unethical but also constitutes self-gratification and abuse of position trust at the expense of salaried staff, the electorates and the rate payers in particular,” Tjihave said in the letter.

He said while monitoring ongoing developments at the City of Windhoek, the union has been inundated with complaints revolving around three crucial issues as outlined above. Tjivahe also touched on the controversial re-appointment of Abraham Kanime as City Police chief after he resigned, describing it as “unscrupulous”.

“Mr Kanime was reappointed by the management committee in an unscrupulous clandestine, surreptitious and fictitious manner in that the management committee appointed an acting chief executive officer, who was on duty during the period in question.

“The appointment of Mr Kanime in the manner it was done by the City management committee defeats the objective of administrative justice, as outlined in Article 18 (Chapter 3) of the Namibian Constitution, and also constitutes discriminatory unfair employment practices as outlined in the preamble of the Labour Act… [It is] thus null and void and has no basis in law.”

Tjivahe further drew attention to a time when the management committee without the knowledge of Kahimise allegedly negotiated new terms and conditions of employment with two strategic executives that allow them to continue in office after their five-year fixed term contracts expire. This was done to keep them in post until their retirement, Tjihave said.

“These two strategic executive members’ contracts have been renegotiated by themselves with the management committee and were subsequently altered from fixed term to indefinite contracts, which will allow them to work until they attain their respective retirement age while they are still remunerated at the upper quantile of their salary notches.

“It goes without saying that the conduct of the management committee has set a bad precedent, which now will justify each and every staff member of the City of Windhoek to be moved from their current salary notches to the upper quantile of their respective salary notches, for the writing is on the wall – what is good for the goose should also be good for the gander – hence our call for immediate intervention.”

Kahimise said that while he received the letter, he referred Confidente to Utoni for further questions and action.

The line minister on Wednesday this week aid he had not yet seen the letter but would look into the matter once it reached his office.