Windhoek dumps Alan

The Windhoek city council has resigned from the voluntary Association for Local Authorities because of a lack of financial accountability.

31 July 2019 | Government

The Windhoek city council has resigned from the Association for Local Authorities in Namibia (Alan) over concerns that the voluntary umbrella body has failed to submit financial reports for several years despite numerous requests.

During a closed-door portion of last week's monthly council meeting, city councillors resolved to resign from Alan “until they put their house in order and provide the necessary financial reports as requested, upon which [the] council will rejoin”.

Documents seen by Namibian Sun show that the City of Windhoek has long maintained a good standing with Alan with annual membership fee payments, and assisted the association in congresses and events.

The last annual fee of N$150 000 was paid in October 2018.

Nevertheless, the latest council agenda notes that “the City on several occasions made written requests to Alan to share the said reports, in which the association has failed to submit any reports for the past years”.

With the Alan membership fees for the upcoming financial year due to be paid in July, the City last week placed the issue of membership on the agenda and resolved to resign for the time being, pending a response to their long-standing request for reports.

In November last year, after the membership fee had been paid, then acting CEO Ludwig Narib reminded Alan in a letter to respond to their request.

“Your office is further reminded that the City of Windhoek has not yet received Alan's report as per the undertaking in your letter dated October. Once again, we kindly request you to furnish my office with the outstanding report for consideration by council.”

Alan president Katrina Shimbulu in a response letter, addressed to the mayor's office and dated February 2019, said Alan “will provide the report once it is available. We humbly request your office to bear with us in this regard”.

Council documents show that Alan activity and financial reports “are still pending”.

In November, Narib further informed Alan that going forward, the City would no longer cover costs for participating members assigned to the Alan board, as this is covered by the annual membership fee.

Alan was also notified that costs related to activities of Alan in which councillors took part would be deducted from the annual membership fee.

Shimbulu responded by referring the City to Alan's articles of association, and underlined that Alan's main source of income is its annual membership fees.

Payment plan

In July this year, Alan issued the 2019/20 membership fees invoice to its members.

The letter notes that membership fees help Alan to strengthen its operations and to improve on its service delivery to the members.

Alan said it took note of the “persisting social economic situation in our local authorities” and encouraged “local authorities with outstanding membership fees to engage the secretariat for a payment plan”.

Alan is a voluntary body which is not recognised by law or linked to an official government structure.

A concerned councillor, who declined to be named, confirmed the City's decision to resign from Alan and accused Alan of doing very little in return for steep membership fees which it rakes in “year after year. And then they can't even report what they are doing with all that money”.

City of Windhoek spokesperson Harold Akwenye on Tuesday confirmed to Namibian Sun that the council had decided to resign from Alan, but could not confirm whether the association had been notified of the decision.

Alan was approached for comment on Monday but had not responded by the time of going to print.


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