Omuthiya — The Grootfontein municipality has vowed to continue with the recruitment of about 32 workers despite a request by the local Swapo leadership to halt the process due to cost implications.
The Grootfontein Swapo district executive committee argued the recruitment of additional staff would further cripple the already-struggling local authority.
Last month, the executive committee, headed by John Haimbodi, wrote a letter to the municipality in which it directed its councillors to strongly object and stop the recruitment of about 32 employees.
These positions were advertised internally and some externally.
Reference was made that the municipality was failing to pay five-year bonuses and severance payments to employees.
"We, the district executive, with the powers vested in us and ensuring that our mandates are adhered to, strongly object the employment of these 32 internal vacancies as per the reason outlined in the letter. The vacancies should be put on hold for the current 2020/21 financial year," reads the letter.
Meanwhile, the CEO, Kisco Sinvula, this week said the institution will go ahead with filling vacant posts, as this was already resolved by council.
"External positions were advertised first, and the recruitment process is continuing - and that is exactly what my office implemented. The memo was addressed to the mayor and it was his duty to bring it to council for endorsement and ratification, of which this never happened," stressed Sinvula, adding the process is done to ensure service delivery is not compromised.
"Therefore, the request was out of touch with the governing principles of Local Authority Act. As such, a directive is tantamount to external interference," reacted Sinvula.
On his part, Haimbodi disputed the assertions, claiming the party involvement was minimal and directed to councillors who serve on the party tickets so that they can act in the interest and not necessary meddle into administrative duties.
In addition, he said, the move was a ploy by politicians to use it as a token of appreciation to their electorates as a sign of fulfilment on some of the many campaign promises, which, among others, is job provision.
"Some of them know they might not come back as councillors; therefore, considering its elections, they want to maximise," briefly stated Haimbodi, while confirming the authenticity of the letter.
Haimbodi argued the number of vacancies was a lot, thus attracting a huge financial burden.
He further cited the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it's not viable for unjust employments.
The municipality is said to be facing an acute shortage of staff members; as a result, it has been using contract workers.