WALVIS BAY - Urban and Rural Development Minister Peya Mushelenga yesterday said some Namibia mayors live large by grabbing all travelling duties of their local authority councils and thus claim monetary allowances that come with such travels.
According to the minister, such mayors often travel out of the country to supposedly familiarise themselves with operations of municipalities abroad, in the process denying learning opportunities to their deputies and other serving councillors.
The minister was addressing local authority representatives during the closing of the annual general meeting of the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN) last week at Walvis Bay.
While conceding that local authorities can benefit hugely if they are exposed to the international standards of running their affairs, he noted that some mayors have made it their sole mandate to travel, especially when such trips are abroad-bound.
By doing so, the minister noted, such selfish mayors are denying their deputies and other councillors the opportunity to broaden their knowledge.
“They are really living like foreign ministers. As if they do not have deputies. They attend all training and travelling arrangements while it is a fact that everyone needs to learn, whether such engagements are in Namibia or beyond our borders,” Mushelenga said.
According to the minister all local authority councillors want to be exposed to different environments and thus need to go see and experience different ways of doing things.
“After all, we are all elected but all of us are not mayors. Hence you need to delegate some duties so that you all can share the workload and expertise gathered, regardless from which political party you are,” he said.
Mushelenga added that exposing councillors and deputy mayors to different work environments will enhance service delivery and a better understanding of duties, while working together in peace and harmony.
In the same vein the minister also reminded local authority leaders that they have a duty to serve and comply with the Local Authority Act.
According to him, local authorities are technical institutions that require some capacity. Therefore, he says, capacity building and training of councillors form an integral part of corporate governance.
“Hence basic training on corporate governance, [and] enough practical exposure will enhance the operations of local authorities as they have the responsibility to formulate policies for implementation.”