Helao Nafidi presses ahead with appointing pensioner CEO

23 July 2021 | Local News

TUYEIMO HAIDULA



OSHAKATI

The Helao Nafidi town council management committee is pressing ahead with extending the employment contract of town CEO Inge Ipinge - despite her having reached retirement age five years ago.

This is in defiance of a directive from urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni, who recently disapproved the town’s decision to extend the contract.

Ipinge's employment contract ends on 6 August, but the council’s management committee recommended that it should be extended on 7 August to 30 December 2022. Ipinge is currently aged 65.

Uutoni wrote to the municipality that he rejects their recommendation because council’s decision is not in line with the Local Authorities Act, 1992 (Act No.23 of 1992) as amended.

Yesterday, both the town’s mayor and the chairperson of the management committee refused to give substantive answers on the matter, but Namibian Sun has it on good authority that the council plans to ignore Uutoni’s directive and extend Ipinge’s contract.

Helao Nafidi management committee chair Sakaria Haimbili yesterday told Namibian Sun that the mayor will inform them once a decision has been made, and only then he can comment. He said since they received the letter from Uutoni, they have not met to deliberate on it.

Sharing the same sentiments is mayor Darius Shaalukeni, who said the issue has not yet been finalised.

“I do not speak in my own capacity. For now, there is nothing to say. Council will meet on 29 July, then we will map the way forward and have a clear answer,” he said.

‘Personal matter’

He was at pains to discuss the issue further, saying it’s a personal matter and council has no right to discuss Ipinge’s employment details in public.

Shaalukeni said the seven Swapo councilors will have to defend their decision to keep Ipinge on and reply to the minister’s letter. Ipinge is also the younger sister of Swapo vice-president, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.

Uutoni yesterday told Namibian Sun that he was in a meeting and would respond to questions at a later stage, but had not done so by the time of going to print.

No problem

Labour expert Herbert Jauch said legally there is no problem with the town’s decision to extend Ipinge’s contract as Namibia does not have a law which compels people to leave work after retiring at the normal retirement age of 60 years.

He said each company works on its own staff retirement policy and comes up with its own age limits.

“Once a person turns 60 and continues to work, they are then later entitled to a severance pay out at 65 years as per the Labour Act. Namibia does not have a law which says it compulsory to leave at that age. Some countries have it,” he said.

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