‘Isolating’ IPC councillor mingles at workshop
25 August 2021 | Government
The City of Windhoek’s new management committee chairperson, Ndeshihafela Larandja of the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC), attended a five-day onboarding workshop for new councillors in January after she had taken leave from her fulltime job to supposedly self-isolate because of Covid-19 symptoms.
Larandja, who works fulltime for the Office of the Auditor-General, is accused of misleading her employer by taking sick leave to attend the City onboarding event and rake in a handsome subsistence and travel (S&T) allowance.
Claiming she had Covid-19 symptoms, she was granted leave from 8 to 15 January and attended the onboarding event between 11 and 15 January, information reviewed by Namibian Sun shows.
On enquiry, deputy auditor-general Goms Menette confirmed that Larandja had requested to self-quarantine because she had Covid-related symptoms during the period of 8 to 15 January 2021.
There are also claims that Larandja has attended non-essential meetings at the council while neglecting her job at the auditor-general’s office.
In April, a request on her behalf by the City of Windhoek for her to be granted ‘special leave’ to attend planned meetings for ordinary council, management committee, advisory subcommittee and councillor’s forum, was declined by the auditor-general’s office, which instead approved vacation leave for her.
Menette said his office had indicated to the City of Windhoek that should Larandja receive remuneration of any nature while executing her duties, including meetings and sittings as councillor, she would have to apply for vacation leave and not special leave.
“Therefore, the request for special leave was ruled out to vacation leave whenever Ms Larandja is to sit for any of the abovementioned council meetings,” he concluded.
Larandja said she had contracted Covid-19 in December already between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and was rushed from Opuwo to the Medi-Park hospital where she was admitted for one day.
Upon being discharged, she was reportedly told to get tested as soon as possible at the nearest Covid testing facility, but she could not find a facility with testing facilities in the Opuwo area.
“I was on vacation leave which ended on 5 January 2021, and I came back to Windhoek and our employment policy states that when you are diagnosed with Covid-19 you must be cleared before you could return to your workplace. I then went to get tested and the procedures is that you must wait for seven days,” she said.
According to her, she then informed her employer that she had been tested and was still waiting for her test results, and they told her she could only return once she was cleared.
Larandja made it clear that she was not ill when she went for the test in January, but did it simply because of her workplace policy.
She added that she had extended her vacation leave and only received her test results on the day after the onboarding workshop ended.
“After the [workshop], I was cleared of Covid-19 and I took my certificate to work, but my employer still told me to stay for another week at home, because they were not sure that I was cleared of Covid-19,” she said.
The onboarding workshop ended on 15 January.