The Mayor of the City of Windhoek Ms Sade Gawanas is in trouble after reports indicated that she has been receiving a transport allowance while also using the city’s cars for her official duties.
Late last week Gawanas came out in public and blamed city officials for not making things clear to her as to what she was supposed to receive.
Yesterday she sent out to the media a letter dated 6 June 2022 in which she asked the acting CEO of the city Mr O’brien Hekandjo to clarify to her the transport benefits which city leaders are supposed to receive.
“A proposal from Human Capital…, is to designate a driver from City Police to transport me in my private vehicle, should I choose to retain the transport allowance or alternatively, to relinquish my transport allowance to enjoy full use of official vehicle,” she wrote to Hekandjo.
“The former option is impractical and poses various risks and liabilities, for example, in the event of an accident or bodily harm against me in my capacity as Mayor as well as the designated driver seconded from City Police, using my private vehicle. Also, would my private vehicle be granted access to certain premises?”
“In light of the above, there seems to be a lack of clarity and consistency in how this policy is applied – giving room for broad interpretation. I am of the view that the Office of the Mayor holds a certain level of esteem as a political office and should have at minimum, a level of safety, security and VIP standing and discretion as far as the use of official vehicles and designated drivers from City Police.”
Gawanas also stated that it was unclear to her what is meant by “official ceremonies” as opposed to “official duties”, since “my office attends to numerous official matters on a daily basis, some of which require traveling to and from the office.”
But a letter from former acting CEO of the City Mr George Mayumbelo dated 19 January 2022 addressed to Gawanas said: “Mayor and Deputy Mayor portfolios shall be given an option to either choose to be paid a transport allowance with the condition to make use of either their own vehicles for official duties or opt to be allocated official vehicles with an assigned driver, and by choosing the latter, payment of a transport allowance be forgone”.
“In light of the above provision,” the letter to Gawanas said, “kindly select the option that you prefer. It will be appreciated if we are informed of your choice by 21 January 2022.”
Yet Gawanas, who was elected mayor in November 2021, continued to receive both benefits until the matter was brought to the public through newspaper reports last week.
Now the mayor’s critics are calling on her to pay back the money, and possibly step down as mayor.
In the photo: Windhoek Mayor Sade Gawanas.