The president of the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN) Katrina Shimbulu says there is an urgent need to review the sitting allowances of mayors and councillors, arguing they are not market related
Although councillors and mayors are only expected to sit once a month, the expectation is exceeded by the need to be present at urgent consultative meetings, presentations and other urgent meetings where elected officials’ inputs are also required.
Shimbulu, who is also the mayor of Oshakati, said the time invested in carrying out local authorities’ activities is remunerated with an allowance of between N$1 700 and N$5 000 for village and town councillors, with the mayor and council chairpersons getting slightly higher amounts.
“Sometimes our members end up sitting for three to four meetings a day. However, they cannot turn away from their responsibilities because they have the development of their respective towns at heart,” said Shimbulu.
She added that while the association does not want to be seen to be unreasonable, it is appealing to government to work hand in hand with ALAN to enable it to carry out its mandate.
She said the association does not have funds to boost its members’ allowance because it operates entirely on membership money paid by the local authorities.
“We don’t have cars, we have no salaries and we do not have any medical aid benefits, but we have committed ourselves to serve our association,” said the ALAN president.
Apart from the allowance increment, another important aspect that also needs to be revisited is the leave days of working members, she said.
Shimbulu said members run the risk of exhausting their leave days with their employers, because of urgent meetings they are required to attend from time to time.
Apart from meetings, the members are also expected to show their faces at national events taking place in their respective towns, which the association president says “heavily disadvantages” members.
“As a result some of our working members sometimes take unpaid leave because they have run out of annual leave days at work. But as an association we feel we can work with employers to find an amicable solution,” said the president.