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Swartbooi: City should hire Lutombi

2022-07-25  Edward Mumbuu

Swartbooi: City should hire Lutombi

Landless People’s Movement leader Bernadus Swartbooi believes Roads Authority CEO Conrad Lutombi should be hired to become the city’s administrative head in the interest
of Windhoek residents.

Swartbooi on Friday conceded that the Windhoek municipality is “in a mess”, and appointing Lutombi would prevent the demise of the city. 

Windhoek has been without a substantive CEO since November 2020 when Robert Kahimise resigned to join the Central-North Regional Electricity Distributor.

Following his departure, the position was advertised, and five candidates were shortlisted for public interviews, the first of its kind at the time. 

Lutombi, who came out tops in the interviews and psychometric tests, is allegedly unwanted by the management committee (MC) for his affiliation to the ruling party.  The MC is hellbent that the process must start afresh. 

Talk is also rife that the interview was skewed in Lutombi’s favour, as he is alleged to be close friends with the city’s human resources’ executive George Mayumbelo, who formed part of both the interview and selection panels.

This, insiders say, is in conflict with the city’s recruitment policy. 

The LPM has been on record that it does not want Lutombi as CEO, citing that he is unpatriotic.  The party accused Lutombi of dishing out road contracts to Chinese companies at the expense of competent local entities.  But there seems to be a change of heart now. Swartbooi said at a press conference on Friday that they obtained an audit risk report that indicated that the lack of a substantive CEO for the city creates problems for banks and other institutions to deal with the city, and it will be necessary for a CEO to be appointed as soon as possible.

“We have a political view that Mr. Lutombi should not be the CEO. [But] we say, in the interest of residents of Windhoek and as a maturing political party, let not our ego and our position on Lutombi dictate ultimately the demise of the city,” he added. 

LPM now holds the view that the interview process is beyond reproach. 

“We studied the recruitment process. Every issue that the management committee raises as to be a problematic area in terms of the recruitment, shortlisting and eventual recommendation of the CEO, we have studied everything they have raised,” the 44-year-old said. 

“There is nothing materially fundamentally untoward, at least from the documents that we have at this juncture, in the way in which the panel was constituted and the process was completed”, he buttressed their position.

The orange army is clear that the successful candidate, Lutombi in this case, must be hired. “Given that the process appears to be above board, given that we have the audit risk report, and given the importance of the residents of Windhoek, let us employ in accordance with the recommendations of the panel a CEO from this process,” he added.  The politician and lawyer then took a dig at the MC. “We are stuck because the management committee of Windhoek does not have sufficient balls to move the needle forward. This process is stuck in some unnecessary political gridlock that cannot be legally or intellectually defined, described and articulated, except that this person is not wanted,” he stated.  



At the same gathering, Swartbooi said if it was not for Swapo’s vague policies that handsomely reward Windhoek municipal councillors, mayor Sade Gawanas would not have profited N$57 000 as transport allowance while also using municipal vehicles for official and private engagements.  

City policies and procedures governing councillors stipulate that using council vehicles and receiving an allowance concurrently is a contravention. 

It dictates that a mayor or deputy mayor can either choose to be paid a transport allowance to make use of their own vehicles for official duties, or be allocated official vehicles with an assigned driver. By choosing the municipality’s vehicles, they give up the monthly transport allowance.

According to Swartbooi, the policy is vague and embarrassing, pointing to the mayor’s use of official vehicles for ceremonies and official functions. 

“And then the media says she is double-dipping. I think all of them are quadruple-dipping as far as I am concerned. They are getting money for site visits, and this and that. That is the issue that we must rather talk about… if you blame Sade, blame all of them,” he charged. 

He said the party will not recall Gawanas, as there was no corruption. 


Gravy train

At present, 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 each council meetings is N$2 300, MC and extraordinary meetings N$1 500, while workshops, presentations and site visits
earn councillors N$1 000.

2022-07-25  Edward Mumbuu

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