20 December 2012

Namibia: Kapofi's Getting the Best of Both Worlds

SECRETARY to Cabinet Frans Kapofi says he is a public servant and not a public office bearer as he is classified by the Public Office Bearers Remuneration and Benefits Commission (POBC) in its report made public on Tuesday.

Concern has been raised that Kapofi is getting the best of both worlds - being a public servant and also regarded as a public office bearer.

Questions over where he falls have continued following the release of the report this week by the POBC, which recommended that the position be regarded as a professional job rather than a political appointment.

As a civil servant, Kapofi benefits from a lucrative car allowance, while as a political appointee he can benefit from a public office bearer's pension, meaning that the government contributes 35% to his retirement savings compared to only 16% for civil servants.

Responding to questions at the press conference on Tuesday, the chairperson of the commission, Petrus Damaseb, a former secretary to Cabinet himself, admitted there was a need to define the position so that there is no confusion about where it falls.

Damaseb said, as it stands, there is a possibility that the secretary to Cabinet can benefit from the best that the civil service offers and also pick from the pay packages of public office bearers.

The secretary to Cabinet is currently paid N$810 032 per year and if the proposed remuneration is approved by President Hifikepunye Pohamba, he will earn about N$1,2 million per year.

Kapofi at one point reportedly was earning a better salary than the prime minister.

Kapofi is appointed by President Hifikepunye Pohamba upon the recommendation of the Public Service Commission.

"I am a civil servant and the law is clear on that. To me it's not appropriate that I am referred to as a political office bearer while I'm not," he insisted.

According to his job description, he is the head of the public service and serves as the principal link between the prime minister and public service.

Kapofi also said he had not given himself benefits that was not entitled to. "I did not take anything that is not suppose to be mine," he said.

According to him, he has raised the issue of him being classified as a public office bearer with the president. "Those who did it must rectify it," he said.

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