Chaos at Oshakati council

A restructuring exercise at the Oshakati town council led to angry scenes at a council meeting on Wednesday.

31 August 2018 | Government

Members of the public watched aghast as pandemonium erupted during an Oshakati town council meeting on Wednesday.

Councillors and senior managers were at each other's throats, while slinging accusations to and fro.

The chaos ensued during deliberations on a motion brought by management committee chairperson Gabriel Kamwanka last week, which sought to reverse a council restructuring resolution taken a few months ago.

The council had previously resolved that, as per their reapplication for municipal status, four positions would have to be advertised and filled.

The posts, advertised in July, were for a qualified town planner, a corporate officer, a finance manager and a manager for economic development and marketing.

This means the current finance department, which is headed by Damian Hamunyela, will be split between two managers, where one will be responsible for financial administration, assets and creditors, while the other will be responsible for revenue collection and debtors.

The planning and properties department, headed by Orestus Shilunga, will also be split, with one manager being in charge of planning, and the other, properties.

Hamunyela has apparently been preferred to head revenue collection and debtors, while the other finance position would be advertised.

It is alleged he is unqualified and needs assistance from Tsumeb to balance Oshakati's books.

Shilunga has apparently been preferred to head the planning division, but there are claims he lacks the skills for the post and is more adept at property management.

Planning is currently being outsourced to a private company, Namibian Sun understands.

A council source said both Shilunga and Hamunyela were unhappy.

“Shilunga wants to head the planning department, while Damian wants the finance position, which was advertised and not the one imposed on him,” the source said.

Emily Alweendo, who currently works in the council's finance department, is said to have been the successful candidate for the finance post.

However, last week during a management committee meeting, her appointment was struck from the agenda after Kamwanka's motion was tabled.

According to well-placed sources, Kamwanka tabled the motion because he prefers Hamunyela, who is allegedly his nephew and the son of the town's current deputy mayor, Ndamononghenda Hamunyela.

That necessitated Wednesday's voting on the motion, which was rejected.

Kamwanka had urged that the matter be struck from the agenda, as all the councillors were not present, which was also rejected.

Mayor Angelus Iyambo said they are guided by law on how to deal with matters.

“The (Local Authorities) Act is clear; if those that are present in the meeting and are voting in favour of the motion have not reached the 75% as required, this motion has lapsed,” Iyambo said.

During the debate, Kamwanka also accused CEO Werner Iita of appointing two people in the procurement department unprocedurally.

Kamwanka referenced letters in his possession that indicate Iita in fact does not have the power to make the appointments.

Iita defended himself by saying one of the letters was a response from finance minister Calle Schlettwein.

“Where a public entity has resorted to establishing the procurement management unit (PMU) as a division/department on the organisational structure of the public entity with graded positions in accordance to the duties outlined in the Act and regulations, it is advisable for internal human resource policies to be followed before the accounting officer makes an appointment in line with regulation 12(1),” Schlettwein's letter dated 31 July reads.

Iita explained he indeed followed the HR policy guidelines and the appointments were thus lawful.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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