By Eliaser Ndeyanale
URBAN and Rural Development Minister Sophia Shaningwa is seeking for a law to pass which will give her powers to approve appointments of chief regional officer and chief executive officers at local authorities and regional councils.
This is contained in the Local Authorities Amendment Bill tabled in the National Assembly Thursday last week by Shaningwa.
“To appoint chief executive officers and regional officers to the council, the council must appoint on the recommendation of its management committee. The whole recruitment processes, the supervision and discipline is in the hands of the council. Only before the actual appointment, the approval of the minister must be sought,” she said.
However opposition parties are not happy with the amendment saying it will turn into a “process of hand picking”.
According to the minister this is to ensure that the recruitment is fair and conducted within the required legal framework. She said this will ensure that the national standards are not compromised and issues such as tribalism, regionalism and nepotism do not influence recruitment in the regional councils and Local Authorities.
She added that her new amendment will guard against councils recruiting people of one area or from the dominant tribe of the area. She further said that these amendments will be the only way the ministry will ensure that regions and local authorities will not deteriorate into colonial Bantustans that once fragmented the nation.
She further stated that the amendment is also responding to changing the status quo that has prevailed in some local authorities such as Omaruru, Stampriet and Otjiwarongo where the ministry has tried to intervene and failed because it lacks statutory power to intervene.
“The amendment therefore empowers the minister to ensure that national standards are maintained and the unity of our state is upheld and when these values are at stake the minister can intervene meaningfully to protect them.”
Should the Bill sail through, it will give the Minister the power to be involved in the disciplinary procedures pertaining to Chief Executive Officers or Chief Regional Officers and other senior staff members.
“The principle of the matter here is that the body that has made the decision cannot be the same to whom the aggrieved party should appeal.
“As we said on the appointment of this key position it is the same when they have to exit it. The situation out there when it comes to the suspension of CEOs/CROs is very bad. Chief executive officers and chief regional officers are suspended; the council waits for years for the expiry of the employment contract to give notice that the contract will not be renewed. In some instances no charges are brought against them.”
She also said the purpose of the amendment is to allow the regional council management committee to be able to sit as need arises to attend to issues of its mandate instead of waiting for the next scheduled meeting.
DTA parliamentarian Elma Dienda said her party will not support the amendment bill. “We will not allow the minister to be the referee and the player.” While Usutuaije Maamberua said it was not prudent and wise for Shaningwa to have the final say in the appointments. “This will discourage regional councils to oversee the work of those officials,” he said.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015