Taxpayers are footing the bill for the country’s diverse traditional authorities and traditional leaders, which cost government in excess of N$20 million each year.
According to information obtained by New Era, government pays a N$2 100 monthly allowance to each of the 51 recognised chiefs, and a N$1 800 monthly allowance to 306 senior traditional councillors.
It also pays a monthly allowance of N$1 600 to 306 junior traditional councillors, N$1 300 for each traditional authority secretary, N$1 000 monthly allowance for each traditional authority driver and a quarterly petrol allowance of N$3 000 to each recognised traditional authority.
In total government spends N$20.6 million a year on traditional authorities.
Besides allowances paid, between 2009 and 2016 government handed brand-new 4×4 Toyota Hilux double cabs to all 51 recognised traditional authorities throughout the country to help them carry out their traditional responsibilities in administering the affairs of their respective communities.
Additionally, government has embarked on the construction of 20 traditional authorities headquarters across the country to the value of N$9 million. During the recent 19th annual meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders at Keetmanshoop, President Hage Geingob expressed concern over the millions spent on salaries, motor vehicles and administration costs of the mushrooming traditional authorities.
A local daily quoted Geingob as saying that tribal leaders are supposed to be financially sustained by their subjects, like in other countries.
“Very soon, they (traditional authorities) will ask to be provided with security and administrative staff. Where do we end?” he asked.
The president ascribed the mushrooming of traditional authorities to greed, admitting that government created the problem by giving allowances and cars to recognised traditional leaders.
According to ministry officials there are currently 51 recognised traditional authorities while a further 40 applications were waiting approval.