Conrad Lutombi is expected to earn a monthly remuneration package of a little under N$300 000 when he assumes duty as the new City of Windhoek CEO, details into one of the country’s most lucrative employment contracts show.
According to impeccable city sources, Lutombi will earn at least N$3.3 million annually, making him one of the highest public executives in the land.
The package is inclusive of various perks, including an attractive vehicle and housing allowance.
Lutombi, who heads the Roads Authority, recently told New Era he is still studying the offer, while also being quoted in another local daily that he is not motivated by money. “I can confirm that I received the offer to join the City of Windhoek. However, we are still studying the offer. Should we accept the offer, the institution will share its top priorities moving forward,” Lutombi said.
The details come at a time when the municipality finds itself in a precarious financial position.
Residents will pay the ultimate price.
Generous salaries and perks have largely made the city technically bankrupt.
In July, the then city management committee member, Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) Jürgen Hecht laid bear the city’s precarious financial position.
At the time, the municipality was sitting with a cumulative loss of N$3.2 billion in the last decade, N$300 million wage bill, N$100 million annual employee vehicle scheme, N$70 million losses on bus services and a lifelong post-retirement medical aid scheme.
Windhoek is technically insolvent was the emphatic message from Hecht.
Not much has changed since the IPC-dominated management committee (MC) was toppled in August. That committee was opposed to Lutombi’s appointment, citing the recruitment process was tainted and possibly corrupted.
Hecht said the city is unable to embark on any major capital project, as there is simply “no money”, complaining that City of Windhoek employees are among the highest paid in the country. He said it is so bad that in some instances, employees are paid over 144% more when juxtaposed to market-related salaries.
“In the lowest bracket, we pay 600% above market rate – more than what the market pays. We have to look at this. We cannot afford it,” he said. The budgeted employment cost for the 2022/23 financial year is N$1.6 billion. “In view of the excessive remuneration policy, one obviously has to look at this again. Salaries at the City of Windhoek are too high,” he said.
For example, City Police officers are currently paid two to three times more than their Namibian Police counterparts.
The budgeted salary for the current financial year is N$230 million or 90% of its total cost.
“The fact is that, with all commendable efforts by the City Police, the City of Windhoek Police, together with national police, there may be duplication of services, and it needs to be reviewed. Because you cannot afford a City Police of N$230 million in our current financial predicament,” he revealed. This situation is untenable and must be reviewed, Hecht said.
The city currently spends around N$200 million on City Police operations, a bulk of which is gobbled up by astronomic salaries.
The only lifeline the city has is a N$200 million overdraft facility that allows it to go from month to month.
It is not the city employees who smile all the way to the bank at the end of each month, as politicians, too, are handsomely rewarded.
Presently, the Windhoek mayor receives a monthly salary of N$43 000, while the deputy takes home N$39 000.
The MC chairperson is entitled to a monthly salary of N$36 000, while the remaining four management committee members receive N$32 000.
The eight ordinary councillors are paid N$30 000 each.
On the transport front, the deputy mayor gets N$8 700 per month, while the MC chairperson gets N$8 000.
Management committee members receive N$7 000 as transport allowance, while ordinary councillors get N$6 000.
On top of this, the monthly allowance for council meetings is N$2 300, MC and extraordinary meetings N$1 500, while workshops, presentations and site visits earn councillors N$1 000.