The Association of Regional Councils in Namibia (ARC) wants its members to give it power of attorney to act on their behalf to obtain the necessary legal representation to take government to court over outstanding leave days gratuity.
This occurred after government failed to pay for leave days of the regional councillors that served government for the past 20 years and their terms ended. The affected councillors are the ones who served in government between 2001-2020. Currently, serving councillors are also concerned government is likely to refuse them their leave benefits because it has been refusing to take their plight seriously despite several engagements through their association. Those who spoke to New Era on condition of anonymity said government does not pay regional councillors for leave day gratuity when their terms end as they do to other political office bearers elected and appointed as national leaders. A letter written by the acting president of ARC, Rachel Jacob, explained that the association has been inundated with several calls by respective regional councils on the issue.
She said the prolonged consultations with the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, Public Office-Bearers (Remuneration and Benefits) Commission and regional councils did not yield favourable outcomes.
However, the director at the Political Office Bearer’s Commission, Oscar Muyatwa, said they are seized with the matter and government will announce at the appropriate time regarding the unresolved issue.
“We are fully aware. We are seized with the matter and soon the State will make an appropriate announcement. I advise you to be patient and wait for the right information,” stated Muyatwa.
He refused to shed more light on the matter, saying he will do so in the official pronouncement.
The association has now resorted to approaching legal firms to provide legal advice for regional councils to hand over power of attorney to ARC to act on its members’ behalf and obtain the necessary legal representation to further institute the required legal proceedings.
Jacob said as the chairperson, he will make sure that they compile all the names of the affected parties that served during the period in question.
Councillors that spoke to New Era accused the commission of having a selective morality when it comes to paying for leave days of political office bearers.
“The minister, deputies and other political national leaders are paid for those benefits when their term end. But councillors are going home with empty pockets, we only take home our pension,” another councillor who feared possible victimisation said. Another retired councillor also explained they have in the past tried to approach government several times which ignored their plight.