The Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (Alan) president Katrina Shimbulu has vehemently defended a proposal to government to consider approving a 50% pay hike for local authority councillors as part of their monthly allowances.

Namibian Sun yesterday reported Alan was pushing for the massive increases, with Shimbulu indicating the recommendation was benchmarked against allowances of the South African Local Government Association (Salga) and the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (Bala).

Shimbulu told New Era that the councillors are getting peanuts considering the significant role they play in developing their towns.

“Local authorities are the sphere of government closest to the people. The notion of a developmental local government, therefore, is important in guiding and ensuring a system that is committed to working with communities to meet their social, economic and material needs sustainably and improving the quality of their lives,” she explained in the proposal also seen by New Era.

“During the determination of the proposal below, serious consideration has been given on the financial sustainability, noting the economic challenges that smaller local authorities are experiencing,” she said.

Urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni yesterday claimed the proposals had not reached his office yet before declining to comment on the issue.

“I only heard it in corridors, hence I will not comment on something that I did not see. A proposal remains a proposal,” he maintained.

Some councillors approached for comment yesterday also defended the proposal, saying it was fair.