Tujoromajo Kasuto

Helao Nafidi Mayor, Darius Shaalukeni, has says the management committee is yet to meet to decide the fate of the town’s Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Inge Ipinge.

This comes as Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni, rejected the contract extension of Ipinge, who is 65 years and whose current contract expires on 6 August 2021. “I hereby inform the Council that I am disapproving the request because Council’s decision is not in line with Section 27 (3) (a) (i) (aa) of the Local Authorities Act, 1992 (Act No.23 of 1992) as amended.”

The provision of the Act explicitly entails that “a person who is appointed as Chief Executive Officer or a staff member of a local authority council who is promoted to the office of Executive Officer, shall occupy that office for a period of five years from the date of his or her appointment or promotion”.

The Mayor of the town, Darius Shaalukeni, tells Windhoek Observer, “I have received the letter, unfortunately we have not met as a council but we will meet in due cause and map the way forward, I have to communicate the letter to the council and then council will decide.”

In a letter addressed to Shaalukeni, in possession of Windhoek Observer, Utoni states that, “having considered the Council’s request for the Minister’s approval of a Council’s decision to extend the employment contract of Ms Inge N. Ipinge for a further (one (1) year and four (4) months) effective from 07th August 2021 to Friday 31st December 2022.”

This comes after Windhoek Mayor, Job Amupanda, had earlier criticised the town’s decision to reappoint Ipinge as CEO. “We will surely monitor how this corrupt arrangement will be implemented and concluded with the resolve to fight it. Would they ever stop corruption?” Amupanda had questioned.

Meanwhile Shaalukeni had fought tooth and nail to defend the employment contract extension of the CEO, stating that age is not a component for contract employees. “The contract labour [rule] does not specify how old a person should be. There is nothing illegal about that,” Shaalukeni says.

Ipinge is Swapo Vice President, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah’s younger sister. Nandi-Ndaitwah earlier this month confirmed that Ipinge is her sister. “However, in relation to her employment at Helao Nafidi Town Council, ask the town council which is her employer.”

Ipinge turned 60 in 2015 and was born on 4 July, 1955, in Oshana region, at Onamutai village. For about 10 years she has been CEO of the local authority since her appointment in 2011.

According to the council management committee, which consist of only SWAPO members, the contract should be extended from 7 August 2021 to 30 December 2022. As the extension will enable the council members to accustom themselves with the ins and outs operations of the council as the appointment of a new CEO would cause havoc within the management of the council. “Because at the same time the councillors will still be in the process of familiarising themselves with municipal affairs of the council and such may negatively affect the development of the town.”

They further stress that should the Council appoint an acting CEO among its employees, the office of the appointed officer could suffer.

Councillors recommended that the position be advertised in July next year and the new CEO would commence with duty on 2 January, 2023.

They maintain that this way the power transition would be more efficient as the period of office of the town’s CEO will not expire shortly after the regional and local authority elections.