Matheus Hamutenya Keetmanshoop-//Kharas Regional Council has refuted accusations by some of its employees that only those in management positions and councillors are allowed to travel on the council’s ticket. Speaking to New Era, some workers questioned the reason behind cancelling the sports trip to Katima in Zambezi Region, saying this was an attempt by those in top positions not to spend money on travel expenses of ordinary employees, so that they can use the funds for themselves. Dissatisfied workers said it does not make sense that no funds are available when ordinary employees have to travel, even when they have to carry out their duties in different areas in the region, but money is all of a sudden available when councillors, or those in management positions want to travel. “It is unfair, they travel to anywhere and funds are available all the time, but ordinary employees are always told there is no money,” said one of the employees who preferred anonymity. The workers said the cancellation of the sports games is not the only time they are being denied to travel, noting that many a time workers’ requests to travel is not approved. But deputy director of finance at //Kharas regional council Bennie Diergaardt refuted the workers claims, saying they should understand the dire state of the regional council’s coffers. He said it is a well-known fact that most institutions are not doing well financially at present and thus workers should not complain, as decisions are taken considering the priorities, as per the mandate of the regional council to develop the region. “It is not a secret that all institutions are struggling with funds and we have to look at priorities. We were to spend over N$250,000 on accommodation, travel allowance and transport, that is why we decided it is not fair to spend such a huge amount while we do not have funds,” he said on the cancellation of the sports event. Diergaardt further refuted the notion that travelling is only for councillors and top management, saying decisions to travel or not are taken on the merit of each request. He added that people should acknowledge that the scope of work of ordinary employees and councillors is different. “That is not a fair statement, their scope of work is completely different. Councillors have important tasks to do, such as luring investors to the region, and you also have to look at what the employees bring to the regional council. It is completely different,” he said. The chairperson of the regional council, Jan Scholtz, also refuted the workers’ claims that travel is reserved to councillors and management members, saying he does not know if the workers have all the requisite facts or were just talking. He said people should not compare the programmes of councillors, who are political leaders, to ordinary employees, as councillors have many commitments and thus might need to travel a lot. “You cannot compare a politician’s programme with that of an employee. I can even get a call now that I should be in Windhoek tomorrow and I have to go, so we sit with many invitations,” he said. On the cancelled sports event, Scholtz said the administrators informed him that it would be expensive to send teams to Katima and thus the trip was cancelled. He called on the employees to meet the council halfway by generating income that can be used to fund such trips in future.
2017-09-12 09:15:36 1 years ago