LPM exonerates Gawanas from double dipping….blames CoW ambiguous policies

Obrein Simasiku

The Landless People’s Movement that has shown intolerance to the breaking of rules, especially when it comes to favouritism and nepotism, is now turning a blind eye to wrong doing which favoured one of its own.

Windhoek mayor, Sade Gawanas, serving on the LPM ticket on the council has been the subject of accusations of double dipping which is benefitting from generous transport allowance while having full-time use to an official vehicles of the City of Windhoek.

The public has condemned Gawanas, but the municipality’s management committee has ignored the ratepayers and rewarded her with a N$9 500 travel allowance plus the use of an official vehicle.

The deputy mayor, Joseph Uapingene of Nudo will also be accorded the same privilege, also his cash allowance will be N$8 500.

Initially, the policy stipulated that a mayor may either choose transport allowance or use an official vehicle, instead she was having the best of both worlds. Since taking over as mayor, she has reportedly pocketed N$57 000 in transport allowance already.

Her party LPM is adamant that no corruption was committed by its mayor. “In as far as LPM is concerned there is no corruption that Sade has committed, zero corruption. If we found anything untoward she would not be next to me right now. Rather, it is the policies of the City of Windhoek that are not having a clear mandate,” said LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi at a press conference.

“The CoW is a gravy train, there is multiple eating happening where there are various allowances that are added to the perks of the councillors, but no one is talking about it? Why should it be a Sade’s double eating now, because all are eating many ways, because that is what the policy is stipulating,” he added.

Windhoek mayor receives, a monthly salary of N$43 000, while the deputy takes home N$39 000, management committee chairperson N$36 000, management committee members N$32 000, while eight ordinary councillors are paid N$30 000 each. In other allowances such as transport, the Mayor receives N$9500, her deputy N$8 700 per month, N$8000 for the MC chair while MC members receive N$7 000 and N$6 000 for ordinary councillors. In addition, the monthly allowance for council meetings is N$2 300, MC and extraordinary meetings N$1 500, while workshops, presentations and site visits earn councillors N$1 000.

It is based on these multiple allowances that Swartboi bemoaned saying, everyone was eating and why should it only be their member fingers should be pointed at, castigating the municipality for a poorly structured remuneration policy. “In terms of the vehicle it indicates to be used in special circumstances of events, meetings and conferences, and also in areas where private vehicles may not be possible to reach. So the question is, is there a time that the Mayor is absolved or is one Mayor until such a time that she’s relieved? These are the things that the municipality policies do not have a clear cut as to what is what,” stressed the LPM leader calling for amendment of the policy.

Gawanas, could however no specify when such amendments can be made, saying that will need to be presented to council for deliberation.

“Think about if cabinet ministers who were paid for all these parliamentary sittings, parliamentary committees, workshops and so forth, then politics could be very interesting, but yet these people have many perks, for what? If there is a serious political party, let them change these policies,” stated Swartbooi, adding that, she [Mayor] won’t be recalled from the position because she has done nothing wrong.

Swartbooi, therefore said his party does not condone lawlessness, but upholds high integrity and accountability.

Second in command Henny Seibeb, told Observer on Thursday that if there is anyone to blame it should be the city’s ambiguous policies, thus saying what is happening to the Mayor is just pure politics at play. “These are attempts that are aimed at discrediting and tarnishing her image. I know her very well, having known her she is incorruptible. In fact, she has her own vehicle, a sedan, that she drives daily from her house to Cow, and never is picked up by the municipality, so where is the abuse in power here,” Seibeb opined.

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