Rundu CEO woes continue

15 November 2019 | Government

The cash-strapped Rundu town council has confirmed that former acting CEO Sikongo Haihambo has rejected its offer to be appointed as the substantive head of the municipality.

This was after urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga approved the recommendation that Haihambo be appointed as CEO. Council spokesperson Benjamin Makayi said Haihambo had rejected their offer as it constitutes only 25% of what he was remunerated by his former employer.

Haihambo was formerly employed by the Namibia Statistic Agency (NSA) as the acting statistician-general.

He is also a former deputy CEO for operations at the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia (MCA-Namibia).

“Haihambo was put through the normal recruitment process and was given an offer, but he rejected the offer, as it was way too low for his consideration,” Makayi said in a written response to Namibian Sun.

“The recruitment process regained traction over the past few months, but it still remains difficult to attract a pool of suitably qualified candidates to take up positions in the town council, especially at management level, let alone that of the CEO.”

Makayi explained the offer to Haihambo was in line with the local authority remuneration system.

He added an acting CEO arrangement is in place at the local ­authority. “Our uncompetitive remuneration levels continue to be a challenge. However, the remuneration levels are established within the local authorities system, over which we do not have control.

We have an acting arrangement in place, so as not to leave an administrative leadership vacuum, but we are relentlessly reviewing the situation to determine what is best for the Rundu town council under the circumstances, moving forward,” Makayi said.

The council has been without a substantive CEO since the departure of Romanus Haironga, whose contract expired in July last year.

Haironga had been at the helm of the council since 2007, but fell out of favour with councillors and was placed on suspension for most of his last year in office.

However, no formal charges were brought against him.

Haihambo is no stranger to the council, as he served as the acting CEO for more than 10 months, before his sudden resignation in May.

Haihambo resigned two months before his six-month extended contract ended, due to the infighting amongst the five Swapo councillors in the council, a situation which saw the local authority having to operate without a complete management committee, which made his job difficult.

Among the 19 people who applied for the position last year, Haihambo was the only shortlisted candidate.

Meanwhile, the council owes over N$76 million to NamWater.

It has been placed on a prepaid water system, meaning it pays before the town receives water from NamWater.