|Municipality draws fire from own employees|
|Written by Floris Steenkamp|
|Wednesday, 13 June 2012 22:22|
CRITICISM over the spending of public funds by the Municipality of Walvis Bay drew fire from a very unlikely source this week: workers of the municipality, affiliated with the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) declared in a petition this week that they are not happy with the way the Municipality spends ratepayer’s money and also complained about the alleged ill-and-unfair treatment of workers by the local authority.
The petition was handed over to the Municipality during a peaceful lunch-hour demonstration at the civic center on Tuesday of this week. Money spent on lavish official events, the acquisition of a new luxury German saloon as Mayoral vehicle, personalising of this mayoral vehicle’s number plates and unnecessary legal costs for futile legal battles with council employees and ratepayers were some of the expenses singled out for criticism in the petition. “Council spent close to N$2 million in the past two years on lawyers, of which close to N$1 million was [spent] on one lawyer,” reads an extract of the petition. In other parts reference is made to N$10 million spent on the new SEBATA financial system which disgruntled employees say is not functioning properly, as well as money spent on luncheons, gala dinners and workers claim that these expenses are disguised as entertaining important guests. Employees say the spending is unwarranted, given the abject poverty in which many residents live. The Municipality’s alleged spending of N$4 million per annum on information technology is also not necessary, according to irate employees who feel there is sufficient internal human capacity to deal with the systems. Employees also took the Municipality to task stating that over 70% of Council employees have no access to their own land and have to rent properties and many are living in kambashus or informal settlements. Employees also did not spare general managers of the different departments and accused them of failing to act on complaints from their subordinates and of having become “yes men” by simply dancing to the tune of Council’s Management Committee, despite their expertise and knowledge. Other senior managers were also accused of running private businesses and consultancies during office hours and using Municipal computers in doing so. Other points of concern touched upon by employees in their petition include delayed salary negotiations each year, a blatant disregard of the 1999 Recognition Agreement between Council and Napwu, unfairness with recruitment and staffing procedures, unilateral changes to conditions of employment and benefits and poor employee-employer relationships in general. Informanté could not get feedback from the Municipality on the issues raised by the workers as both the CEO and Mayor are out of town. They are expected to make a statement on the workers’ grievances upon their return.
|Last Updated on Friday, 15 June 2012 14:13|