Walvis Bay acting allowances irk workers

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Walvis Bay acting allowances irk workers

WALVIS BAY – The Walvis Bay municipal council has been accused of wasting ratepayers’ money by delaying the appointment of a CEO.

According to some employees, the council for the past two years spent millions in acting fees as some of those acting in the position receive their full salaries as well as acting fees.

They say the acting CEO’s positions are also temporarily filled resulting in others also being paid for acting in their positions despite all of them being present at work.

“We should have had a CEO appointed already instead of wasting money on acting fees. How can we have such a huge municipality on autopilot for almost two years?” the municipal official questioned.

So far, the finance general manager, Frans !Gonteb, manager for solid waste and environmental management, David Uushona acted as CEO while John Esterhuizen is currently acting in the position.

Before that, !Gonteb acted in the position when former CEO Muronga Haingura was suspended by the council in 2020.

According to the acting policy of the Walvis Bay Municipality, when you act in a higher position, employees are required to perform their duties as per their substantive position and also perform the additional duties as per the acting position.

“We want the municipality to immediately appoint a suitable candidate as we are wasting money on unnecessary positions. There are so many vacant positions at the municipality but they are not filled as it is seen as a scheme to make a quick buck,” said an employee. 

Spokesperson for the municipality, Anita Kaihiva, however, told New Era that there are no irregularities as all staff members appointed to act were all paid per the official formula.

“They are paid an allowance as a result of performing work of a higher position,” she explained.

Asked how much was spent so far on acting fees, Kaihiva said the remuneration of personnel is confidential and cannot be revealed. “What I can say is that all were paid according to the formula as per our policy,” she said.

As for the finalisation of the CEO position, Kaihiva said they are still unsure when it will be filled due to the processes and players involved.

The total package for the position is well over N$1.2 million per year, New Era understands.

Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes last year, shortly after the position was advertised for the second time, said council deemed it necessary to amend the job description and benchmark it with that of tier one municipalities (Swakopmund and Windhoek) and the private sector.

“We want to make sure that we choose the right person for the job so that the town is in capable hands, even when we are not here,” Forbes stated at that time.