Rapid land delivery, proper governance, an effective debt collection plan as well as containing the skyrocketing wage bill were some of the strategies highlighted by City of Windhoek CEO candidates during their public presentations yesterday.
The five candidates vying for the coveted position, were initially interviewed on Tuesday and had to present their short- and long-term strategic plans yesterday publicly, the first time city executive candidates were grilled on a public platform. The public interviews will be followed by a psychometric test.
NamWater executive Eino Mvula said he would make use of the available legal instruments in place for land expropriation for development in order to deliver land and housing to the residents of Windhoek.
It is his stance that the housing and land crisis is man-made and can be resolved.
He said the city currently has assets worth N$20 billion, with which he hopes to generate revenue. On the issue of youth unemployment, Mvula said the city needs to “invest and support small businesses as they employ a large number of the population”.
Mvula added that under his leadership, the information technology infrastructure will be automated to fast-track service delivery. He would also ensure that there is a performance system in place to hold underperforming employees accountable and equally awarding performing employees.
Joyce Mukubi, who is the deputy executive director for administration within the ministry of works, focused her presentation on the smart city concept.
She indicated that within her first 100 days, she would carry out a situational analysis on the available infrastructure and conduct extensive engagement with relevant stakeholders.
She would also study the city’s current debt management system. Once done, she plans on implementing a cost effective system.
In addition, she plans on conducting a “comparative analysis to ensure that the city does not under or over charge for property rates – bearing in mind the low-income clients”.
She further plans on sensitising the residents on the importance of having a clean city.
Charmill Zamuee, a researcher and entrepreneur, says she plans on putting in place structures for accountability and proper governance for land delivery.
According to her, despite the city’s high wage bill, the municipality is understaffed. She explained that currently one employee services 230 residents – which she says is unsustainable.
She further explained that the city’s wage bill takes up 40% of the revenue, which in her opinion is very high, citing the acceptable amount is 25 to 30 of turnover for the salaries.
“I am not saying that we need to reduce the salaries, I am looking at it from a human perspective. These are human beings, people with families. So, if they have to work overtime, what sort of service will they give to the next person, the next day?”
She added that once appointed, she would empower smaller local authorities through knowledge sharing to curb rapid urban migration.
On land delivery, she said she plans to collaborate with the relevant stakeholders.
Moses Matyayi, who is the CEO of the Otjiwarongo municipality, said Windhoek accommodates diverse residents with a population of nearly 400 000 and the city has been growing by 15 000 residents per year.
Thus, he intends on making use of internal staff to meet the demand of servicing land, bringing government and the private sector on board for funding with pre-determined conditions. He also intends to implement municipal housing schemes and build-together projects.
On the city’s skyrocketing debt of N$1 billion, Matyayi said he would implement a debt recovery system, which would involve a “direct debit order from residents who owe the city”. He also intends on implementing a smart pre-paid water meter system.
Current Roads Authority CEO Conrad Lutombi informed the panel he is passionate about resolving the city’s land issue.
His focus, once appointed, would be on land delivery in the informal sectors.
He argued the planning and delivery process is currently slow.
So, he plans on “dedicating an internal project management team that would be tasked to fast track the land servicing, planning, environmental clearance and others within six years”.
He also plans on allocating plots to residents on the waiting list after clearing the waiting list in 12 months.
Under his leadership, a database for those in the informal settlement will be established with the view to capitalise on the land tenure system. He will also make use of internal remedies to build and allocate houses to the residents.
Lutombi said the city could find funding through effective debt collection. He argued if the city can recover a portion of the N$1 billion debt currently owed by residents, it would be put to good use.
“Government should also come on board as a lot of the residents pay tax to government. I fully support that government needs to make its contribution towards major things such as housing as it is a national issue,” explained Lutombi.
All of the candidates were in agreement that for the city to flourish and work in the best interest of the residents, those within the city should differentiate between the roles played by each stakeholder and organisational channels should be followed.
The successful candidate will fill the vacant position left by former CEO Robert Kahimise, who resigned last year to join the central regional electricity distribution company, Cenored.