The Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (Alan) president Katrina Shimbulu has vehemently defended a proposal to government to consider approving a 50% pay hike for local authority councillors as part of their monthly allowances.
Namibian Sun yesterday reported Alan was pushing for the massive increases, with Shimbulu indicating the recommendation was benchmarked against allowances of the South African Local Government Association (Salga) and the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (Bala).
Shimbulu told New Era that the councillors are getting peanuts considering the significant role they play in developing their towns.
“Local authorities are the sphere of government closest to the people. The notion of a developmental local government, therefore, is important in guiding and ensuring a system that is committed to working with communities to meet their social, economic and material needs sustainably and improving the quality of their lives,” she explained in the proposal also seen by New Era.
“During the determination of the proposal below, serious consideration has been given on the financial sustainability, noting the economic challenges that smaller local authorities are experiencing,” she said.
Urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni yesterday claimed the proposals had not reached his office yet before declining to comment on the issue.
“I only heard it in corridors, hence I will not comment on something that I did not see. A proposal remains a proposal,” he maintained.
Some councillors approached for comment yesterday also defended the proposal, saying it was fair.
Ondangwa mayor Paavo Amweele also suggested councillors should qualify for additional benefits such as medical aid, pension and a car allowance. “Here we are working but we do not have any benefits except the seating allowance. After one is no longer elected to continue serving as a councillor, you are going home with empty hands as if you never worked,” he told New Era.
Darius Shaalukeni, mayor of Helao Nafidi also supported the proposal, saying that the councillors deserve it because they are getting paid like handymen while they are the ones approving budgets of local authorities.
Councillors are not fulltime employees of the local authorities they serve on.
According to Alan’s recommendation, a mayor of a part two municipality who currently earns N$88 910, should qualify for a proposed annual allowance of N$133 365, while the deputy mayor should get N$121 933 compared to the current yearly allowance of N$81 289.
Alan also recommended a yearly allowance of N$125 742 for chairpersons of management committees and N$114 313 for ordinary council members.
For town councils, Alan recommended N$116 250 for mayor, N$104 626 for deputy mayor and N$108 499 in annual allowances for management committee chairpersons.
The association also want ordinary councillors serving on town councils to receive a yearly allowance of N$96 876 instead of the current N$64 584.