Eveline de Klerk
Swakopmund-President of the Namibian Association of Local Authority Officers (Nalao), Walde Ndevashiya, says some municipalities and councils are hotspots for corruption while others are perceived as corrupt.
He says this is due to legislation already in place not being implemented by some local authorities, as well as infightings, lengthy suspensions of chief executive officers, personality clashes and cliques formed at the councils.
He was speaking to New Era shortly after an engagement with local authority councillors and CEOs that was organised by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Swakopmund mid-last week.
He says towns that are continually in the media for all the wrong reasons, such as Rehoboth and Mariental, among others, are prone to corrupt practices.
These, he says, is derived from the fact that CEOs are usually on lengthy suspensions for petty issues, as well the lack of documentation of meetings and recommendations made during the meetings.
“When residents question certain deals carried out by councils, no paper trail exists, even a simple invitation letter when claiming subsistence and travel allowance,’’ said Ndevashiya.
But he says this necessarily does not mean that councils are corrupt but the fact that there are no supporting documents in some activities gives the impression that corruption is happening.
According to him, not only does corruption or perceived corruption harm the public image of local authorities but also causes loss of valuable resources, which in turn leads to efficiency being compromised.
“One only needs to look at some of the questionable procurements and the negative impacts of how people perceive local authorities, especially in capital projects such TIPEEG and the mass housing programme,” he said.
Hence, he says, the ACC’s guidance and intervention are needed to straighten out challenges experienced at local authority level to identify and close such corruption hotspots.
“As I have indicated earlier, the fact is we would require the intervention of ACC in terms of capacity building to assist local authorities to put systems in place to avoid room being created for corrupt practices.”
He added that they have already engaged with various councils to make them understand the importance of following the guidelines of the Local Authorities Act.
“However, what we picked up are damaged relations and lack of trust as well as personality clashes which make room for corruption. Hence, we need the assistance of the ACC for capacity building to make sure that the systems in place are implemented and adhered to by local authorities,” he stated.