Former Keetmanshoop Rural Constituency Councillor Jims Christian has threatened to take the // Karas Regional Council to court for failure to pay his gratuity after leaving office last year.
In a letter addressed to the council’s chief regional officer, Saul Kahuika, in which the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development and the Public Office Bearers Remuneration and Benefit Commission are copied, Christian said the issue has now been dragging all year without any solution in sight, which is frustrating.
The letter which New Era has seen a copy of further indicates the delay in payment of the gratuity package to former councillors has become a burden and problem to the affected individuals, which could lead to legal action.
“The delay in the payment of leave gratuity is an injustice against the affected members, which can tempt us to take legal action,” stated Christian in the letter.
In a telephonic interview with Christian, who is also the Swapo //Karas regional treasurer, he confirmed he had written the letter dated October 10, 2016 out of frustration, since the regional council has failed to pay what is due to him.
He said the payments are supposed to be made as soon as the councillors leave office but it’s a year on after the November 2015 elections, but he has not received a single cent.
He also indicated he wrote his first letter to seek answers on the same issue in June, which was not fruitful. He was thus prompted to write a second letter, to which he is yet to get a response.
Asked who he will take to court, he indicated that the council is the one responsible for all salaries and payments and thus responsible to answer to questions in the Labour Court.
“I’m giving them time until the end of November then I will take them to the Labour Court,” he stated.
Kahuika confirmed receiving the letter, and explained that while the council is ready to make the payments, the problem hindering the process is the formula to be used to calculate the payments, adding that the system is new and the council is still waiting on directives on how to calculate the payment.
“Councillors don’t take leave like normal staff so it’s difficult to calculate the leave days and make payments accordingly,” he explained, adding, “we don’t have a problem we just don’t know how to do it.”
He said the matter will be further discussed at a meeting in Windhoek next week, and a way forward would be decided.