The Gobabis municipality last week suspended three managers and two junior employees for alleged misconduct, bringing the total number of employees on suspension at the local authority to six.
The five joined strategic corporate service and human resources executive Frida Shimakeleni who was suspended in May this year.
Those suspended include electrical services manager Johannes Nantuua, human resource manager Ashipala Shilemba, finance and IT and procurement manager Fillemon Makili, Paul Kayambu (IT technician) and IT officer Kondjeni Nghiwanapo.
They were all placed on suspension after letters requiring them to advance reasons why they should not be suspended were served on them on Thursday. Their suspension was confirmed by the municipality’s acting CEO Steve Adonis at the weekend.
According to Adonis, the suspensions were done in terms of section 29 (6) (b) of the Local Authority Act. According to their suspension letters signed by Adonis and seen by New Era, Nantuua, Shilemba, Makili, Kayambu and Nghiwanapo were all suspended for a period of six months, with full pay. “You may within seven days of this notice, appeal in writing to the acting CEO against the validity of this suspension,” reads the letters to the five.
“You must immediately surrender all council property (laptops, computers, office keys etc.) which are in your possession or under your control, to the acting CEO. You are for all practical purposes still an employee of council and you may not engage in other remunerative work during the period of suspension, without the consent of council.”
The five are accused of among others, disobeying or disregarding work-related orders, revealing confidential information about council to unauthorised persons and interfering or tampering with evidence relating to another ongoing investigation. The urban and rural development ministry earlier this year conducted an external audit of all capital projects executed by the municipal council of Gobabis for the financial years between 2012-2020. The audit findings implicated a few municipal executives. Meanwhile, the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) general secretary Petrus Nevonga last week wrote to the municipality’s management committee chairperson Sylvester Binga requesting an urgent meeting to discuss what they termed as unlawful suspensions, disruption of orderly management and political meddling in the administration of Gobabis municipality.
However, New Era understands the meeting was rejected by the council on the basis that management can never be part of or represented by the same union representing employees. “Management must represent and protect the institution’s interest. If they want union representation, they must get another union that should sign a new recognition agreement with council. As things stand, management is not represented by any union,” reads part of the text shared by one of the council management members.
The Gobabis municipal council consists of mayor Elvire Theron, Binga, Melba Tjozongoro, Gebhardt Jacob, Elwin Gariseb, Nona Gorases and Cornelius Tjizoo.