N$27 million for former governors and councillors leave payout

Ester Mbathera

Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD) issued a notice last week to chief regional officers to commence payment of leave credit days and leave gratuities to all former governors, chairpersons, and regional councillors.

The payout of leave days for former officials is projected to cost the government N$27 million.

Daniel Nghidinua, the executive director of the ministry explained in the letter that the payout applies to all those who served from December 1992 to December 2020.

He said the payment is capped at a total payment of one-third (1/3) of the 25 days per year of service.

“In light of the above-mentioned decision and based on the information on beneficiary Political Office Bearers (POBs) that have been provided by your offices, MURD has worked out the leave credit days and gratuity payments that are due to each Regional Council for onward payment to beneficiaries,” he said.

He added that arrangements have been made for the transfer of the funds to each council for this purpose.

“Your good office is hereby urged to effect the payment promptly, and to submit an accountability report thereon to this ministry,” he said in the letter.

Nghidinua did not respond to questions sent to him.

The Windhoek Observer wanted to know why councillors and governors did not take leave while in office and why leave days were not paid out when they left office.

This publication also wanted to know what sources of funding are being used to pay the outstanding compensation to the former governors, chairpersons, and regional councillors and if it will have any impact on the current budget or future financial planning.

Former Otjozondjupa regional governor, Otto Iipinge declined to comment.

“Ask other people. I don’t want to comment on this,” he said.

Former Walvis Bay Urban constituency councillor, Knowledge Ipinge said he did not take leave while in office and no leave was paid out to him when he left office.

“I could not take leave because I remember my tenure was during Covid-19 and the priority was the people of Walvis Bay. When I left office, I just received a pension payout,” he said.

Former Tsumeb constituency councillor, Nico Kaiyamo confirmed that he was aware of the news but said he did not qualify because his salary was paid by Parliament.

“From the day I was elected I was sworn into parliament as a member of the National Council and I drew my salary from the National Council for the two terms,” he said.

He said the payout for political office bearers does not make sense.

“Leave days for what, when you were elected into office to serve people? Those people can be in office one week and another without putting in leave and no one will do anything. We are in a critical situation where the national budget is not enough to address critical issues that affect the masses,” he said.

Former Dâures constituency councillor and now member of the National Assembly, Apius Auchab said councillors were not able to take leave while in office because there was no provision for leave.

“We were supposed to get leave but it was dragged out. Now that they have decided to pay out leave days you cannot come back and say one-third of the leave per year should be paid out,” he said.

He said that at the time there were no leave forms.

Auchab said that the same applies currently to backbenchers in parliament.

“When parliament is in recess, we are busy in regions with committees. There is no such thing as a leave form in parliament. So how can you say someone in parliament is not entitled to leave but the executive is entitled,” he questioned.

This publication learned that some former councillors have already received their payout while others are waiting on Namra to verify whether they are in good standing with the revenue service.

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