Grootfontein local authority councillors have conferred an array of administrative powers on the municipality’s CEO Kisco Sinvula, who has vowed to crack the whip.
In a letter dated 21 June and signed by mayor Lovisa Iyambo and management committee chairperson Victor Shandjuka, the council empowered the CEO to make various decisions in the day-to-day running of the town.
Council and the management committee, however, still retained their powers and mandate of overseeing the operations of the municipality.
Section 31 of Act 23 of the Local Authorities Act of 1992 states that a municipal council or town council may delegate or assign in writing, and on such conditions as it may determine, to its management committee or its CEO or any other staff member any power conferred or any duty imposed upon it by or under this Act or any other law.
However, this excludes any power to make regulations or rules, to approve its estimates or supplementary estimates of revenue and expenditure, and to determine rates, charges, fees or other monies which may be levied under any provision of the Act; as well as to borrow money or to appoint, suspend or discharge a CEO or head of a department. “We are backed by the Act. We had to take a resolution first to choose what powers could be delegated to the CEO and to the management committee (MC). Whatever decision he [CEO] makes is to be reported to the MC, who then present that to council,” Iyambo told New Era yesterday. “We will not tolerate the ‘Grootfontein tradition’ of doing things without considering the Act, neither will we allow anyone to run an institution in a careless manner or be influenced by anyone.” The CEO echoed similar sentiments, saying “there is nothing sinister with the decision to delegate powers, duties and functions because this is allowed as per the Local Authorities Act. These are administrative powers to ensure the smooth running of the institution”. Sinvula said the decision was further backed by a ministerial recommendation following an investigation of the institution, where it found that there were no powers delegated to the CEO, and that there was a need to do so. “So, as an accounting officer, I was empowered to undertake tasks without delay, instead of referring everything to council for approval. The line of reporting and accountability still stands between council, management and the CEO as it was,” he added. The CEO hinted that these powers will allow him to carry out his duties by addressing issues head-on, saying some employees were in the past using politicians to advance their agendas, and neglected their responsibility of working efficiently. “Our interest is to deliver and provide much-needed services to our people. We have stubborn employees who are pulling in different directions, so we want to deal with those pulling us back,” he warned. The new powers include the promotion and demotion of staff, disciplinary action, suspension and discharge of employees between bands A1 to D, as well as upon those on bands D and E, upon recommendation. The CEO is also permitted to approve the exemption of rates, S&T, leave as well as recommend the sale of residential, business and industrial erven, as long as council approves.