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Windhoek legalises mayoral double-dipping

2022-07-21  Edward Mumbuu

Windhoek legalises mayoral double-dipping

After six months of profiting through dual transport benefits, Windhoek mayor Sade Gawanas, with the management committee’s blessing, will continue using City vehicles and receiving a car allowance.

A submission by the City Police, which sought to beef up the City’s mayor and deputy’s statuses, was unanimously endorsed by the management committee (MC).  

This was discussed on 5 July 2022.

The dossier is titled ‘Request for approval for the use of official vehicle by the mayor and the deputy mayor for official engagement’. 

The mayor and deputy mayor, by virtue of the positions they occupy, are now entitled to use City vehicles under ‘special circumstances’. 

Those circumstances are defined as “the use of municipal vehicles only in instances where visits to sites are impossible to reach with vehicles as privately owned by councillors, or for any travel arrangements outside the boundaries of the Windhoek municipal council for which privately-owned vehicles cannot be used for whatever reasons, inclusive of the allocation of a fulltime vehicle to the mayor’’.

The endorsement comes after New Era reported the City’s first resident was receiving transport allowance and using City vehicles for private and personal purposes. 

Under normal circumstances, 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 opt to be allocated official vehicles with an assigned driver. 

Gawanas has pocketed around N$57 000 in transport allowance in the process. 

In essence, the council has now endorsed an irregularity in their policies, therefore vindicating Gawanas of any wrongdoing. 

“The use of an official vehicle and a driver by the current mayor should be condoned,” it was recommended and approved. 

The new recommendations are seen as a de facto condoning Gawanas’ dual transport benefits from the City, as reported. 

They allegedly emanate from a meeting the mayor held with the City’s acting CEO, human resources and legal department as well as City Police top brass, where she reportedly sought clarity on her transport perks. 

“Clause 7, dealing with transport allocation, [must] be reviewed in order to allow the mayor and deputy mayor to be entitled to the payment of monthly transport allowances as approved by the council – at the same time allocated an official vehicle and driver under special circumstances and/or official functions in line with council affairs and business,” the document vaguely states.

All this is while the City’s residents have become accustomed to lacklustre services, landlessness and without basic sanitation that are coupled with high tariffs. 

However, those entrusted with the mammoth task of delivering basic affordable quality continue to push for prestige, protection and more perks. 

Up until July, the mayor had been receiving this double benefit from the City as far as transport allowance and usage of municipality vehicles are concerned. 

Unlike Gawanas, deputy mayor Joseph Uapingene has been using his private vehicle for official and unofficial duties. 

Uapingene chose one benefit as required by the policy. 

However, the current regulations must be reviewed, as they compromise the security of the mayors. 

The City Police highlighted “the importance of the portfolio for the mayor, deputy mayor and the council hierarchy, and the need to take into consideration the ceremonial and security aspects”. 

The MC’s decisions will be communicated to ordinary councillors – and by extension, the public on 28 July at a scheduled council meeting. 



Meanwhile, in the public space, the news about the double benefits has been received with mixed feelings. 

When approached on Wednesday, legal expert and political analyst, Natjirikasorua Tjirera said the multiple benefits can be construed as corruption. 

“The mayor received benefits that she was not entitled to. It’s as simple as that. As mayor, I would expect her to be well acquainted with the policies of the City. She is the political head of the city after all,” Tjirera said. 

The lawyer holds that Gawanas, as the political head of the Windhoek municipality, must be held accountable. 

“She should simply pay back the money, apologise to the residents of the City and undertake that it should not happen again,” he said. 

Agreeing with him was Lee Garises, social commentator, who said the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) must take remedial action against their member, instead of shifting blame. 

“It doesn’t matter that there might have been misinterpretations. What matters is for the mayor, as head of the City, to perform beyond moral and ethical reproach. It is in her best interest to institute corrective measures, with the assumption that her leadership is about transparency and accountability,” Garises said. 

Gawanas has not indicated whether or not she will repay. 

She denied any wrongdoing. 

Meanwhile, Gawanas’ party, LPM, came out guns blazing on Monday in her defence. 

The movement said the fact that she derived a transport allowance from the City while using the municipality’s vehicles is due to incompetence on the part of those leading the institution. 

Tjirera disagrees.

“She is accountable to the electorate and she cannot and should not pass the buck to the executives. The executives are not elected,” Tjirera said. 

“It’s about time that political leaders take responsibility for their actions across the political divide.”


2022-07-21  Edward Mumbuu

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