The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: SPYL Slams Increases for Politicians

THE Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) has urged President Hifikepunye Pohamba to reject the 31% salary increase for politicians recommended by the the Public Office Bearers' Remuneration and Benefits Commission.

The commission presented the report to the president a week ago, saying most elected officials and political appointees have been underpaid for many years.

The youth league is now banking on President Pohamba, who has the power to decide whether to approve the proposal or not.

SPYL spokesperson Job Amupanda yesterday reacted strongly to the proposals, saying: "Comrade Pohamba can still ascend to the pedestal of moral leadership. We expect our humble president to reject this proposal of flamboyance".

Amupanda said should there be a need for a salary increase for top office bearers, then it must be set at 8%, "the same 8% given to civil servants after a protracted bargaining".

According to the commission, it recommended a 29% increase in 2008, but the president authorised only 24%, which was paid over two fiscal years.

"Despite a high level of unemployment and poverty - despite socio-economic hardship; a tiny minority of 239 politicians (ruling party and opposition politicians) are set to march on the path towards enrichment, accumulation and conspicuous consumption," said the ruling party's youth league.

"While civil servants had to go and rely on strikes to advance their case of poor salaries, risking their jobs and having the security and judicial system set on them, the politicians simply relax, sit in their air-conditioned offices and wait for those serving them as appointed by the establishment to propose their luxurious increases," Amupanda said.

Minister of Presidential Affairs Albert Kawana yesterday said there was a need for improving the pay of ministers because some political office bearers were underpaid, plus there was also a need to pay people based on their technical qualities since it would boost confidence in the public service.

The acting secretary general of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Alfred Angula, said he did not support the proposed increases since "basically, if it's true that they are underpaid then all the workers in most sectors have been underpaid for too long now".

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