By Donna Collins
ALLEGATIONS of “corruption and greed” have been waged against the Walvis Bay Mayor and executive committee by NAPWU, after a hefty remuneration hike recently approved for the 10 councillors was frozen.
According to the Chairperson of the NAPWU branch executive committee for Walvis Bay, Raphael Liswaniso and chairperson of the municipality workplace union, after it was brought to their attention that an ‘extravagant 100 percent’ raise was approved for Walvis Bay Mayor Immanuel Wilfried and his executive committee they publicly exposed the matter to shame them.
Since then they have continued to apply pressure, and as a result the intended increase did not materialise in September, as the municipality’s finance department was verbally instructed by management not to go ahead.
Figures revealed to the Confidente this week, show that the total annual executive salary budget has shot up with an increase of N$1,2 million, bringing the total package to N$2,1 million. The Mayor’s salary hike was authorised to increase from N$20 350 to N$31 321 per month, along with the others to be backdated to July this year.
The position of deputy mayor/ vice chair of the council increased from N$17 050 to N$25 834, whilst the chairperson of the Management Committee was bumped from N$18 150 to N$28 580, and councillors without portfolios went from N$9 350 to N$18 700.
On top of that sitting fees have more than doubled from N$800 up N$1 700, while the newly introduced transport allowance range between N$4 500 to nearly N$7 000 per month.
Liswaniso stated that NAPWU is not opposed to elected councillors receiving benefits and allowance increases, but they are totally against the current increase, and have a duty to “monitor the cow that they are milking”.
“It is our obligation to ensure that we protect this institution, the public and the workers, from the modern fraudsters and corrupt elites,” he fumed. “We will expose corruption and will take this matter to the courts if need be, and the union is vigilant to make sure this increase is not implemented.”
Liswaniso further stated that the councillors were only in office from this year, and queried how they justified such inflated increases when their predecessors in 2013 worked within a 10 percent margin.
“These people are employed by other companies and are receiving the same benefits there as well, besides this is not a full time job and such greed is tantamount to corruption,” Liswaniso added.
“NAPWU is going to fight this matter tooth and nail to stop such squandering of public funds because they are just supporting their own interests, and at the end of the day it is the man in the street and the poor people who suffer.”
Making this a prominent point of discussion at last week’s executive council meeting, the Mayor said. “I would like to give the assurance that there will be no reckless disregard for the public purse regarding this matter.”
Furthermore he pointed out that the last increase was affected on July 1 2013, and in its current format the remuneration does not compensate the elected office bearers appropriately.
In addition to this the Mayor stated that the increase of sitting allowances is to compensate the councillors for time taken off at their places of employment, where most councillors deplete their vacation leave quickly and have to take unpaid leave.
He said that at times they have to make use of their own or public transport to attend municipal activities, and that the remuneration of Walvis Bay office bearers is significantly lower than that of other authority office bearers.
“These are the facts before us and when council considers the proposal using certain criteria for the salary increases, I must add that the new figures will not be out of sync with those paid by local authorities in the same category,” Wilfried added.
Meanwhile Walvis Bay Municipality PRO, Kevin Adams, upon requesting a response to these developments, he replied. “I do not know the details”.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015