School Principal Bemoans S&T Payment Wrangles

By Risco Lumamezi

 A School Principal demanding N$500,000.00 subsistence and travelling allowance from government has expressed disappointment and refused to accept his thirty days pay.

Discontented School Principal
Discontented School Principal

 He is accusing Zambezi Regional Council and the Ministry of Education for not meeting his demands, as this came after seven years since he has been battling with his long disputed claims of subsistence and travelling allowances from his employer.

Mr. Alex Sombelo Mibonda aged 52, is claiming to be paid 255 days multiplied by 5 years instead of 30 days in five years that he was appointed to run two schools in western Caprivi at a distance of 12 km apart from each other for five years without proper budget from government.

 “ From that time when I was assigned that heavy load work, I consulted all relevant authorities for attention but to no avail, but the only answers I got from the Ministry of Education were defamatory response that turned into hatred,” said Mr. Mibonda.

  However, his employer the Ministry of Education and Zambezi Regional Council recently agreed to pay the Subsistence and Travelling Allowances of the School Principal after he exhausted all avenues.

  “Following your several visits and complaints to the office of the Chief Regional Officer, the latter decided that you should be paid subsistence and travelling allowance for thirty days that you visited Masambo Junior Primary School. The said subsistence and travelling allowance will be paid to you for the specific days that you were reimbursed your transport expenses.” said Ms. Regina Ndopu, Chief Regional Officer of Zambezi Regional Council in a letter dated September 13, 2013 addressed to the concerned principal.

 He was also advised to report to the Deputy Director for Human Resources to complete relevant payment forms for the processing of his claims in question.

  Ms. Ndopu confirmed to this paper that Mr. Mibonda’s   30 days payment was approved after relevant information was submitted to her disposal.

  Asked if the approved 30 days was in line with his request of a half a million dollars and how much was reckoned to his package, the CRO explained that “ We cannot discuss HR matters on media and we need proof of his tasks ”.

 She said that, the payment was consistent which according to Mr. Mibonda described it as unconstitutional and was done unfairly and not reasonable as this violates article 18 of the Namibian constitution.

 “May you allow me to brand this greedy person who came up with this evil idea of thirty days as a traitor and great liar simply because the role of a principal is very much wide in the sense that he has to see to it that quarterly returns, class visits, educational census, orders, parents and staff meetings, SSE and many more activities need to be accomplished and forwarded to the relevant offices.” He explained.

He added that the principal still has to attend meetings at a cluster, circuit and regional level and give feedback to teachers.

“ My main argument on the point of 30 days is that, is it true that the school can sustain administrative activities of six days per year? The answer is no, I have laid the most strongest foundation of that school in question and that is why today it has a permanent structure and other resources.” Lamented Mr. Mibonda.

The concerned principal still arguing that “ I am not guessing but this is correct I have visited Masambo Primary School for almost 255 days and even more, therefore I am demanding the Ministry of Education to pay Subsistence and Travelling Allowances of those days mentioned above and if not the culprits must face the competent court of law or else the ministry should face me as a victim”

 

Mr. Mibonda was principal at Ndoro and Masambo primary schools between 2004 and 2008, claims that the Ministry of Education economically exploited him by not paying him the administrative tasks of Masambo Primary Schools that is found 200 Kilometers west of Zambezi region for the previously marginalized community, the san-speaking people.

 The aggrieved Mr. Mibonda says he has tried several times in finding ways on how the regional office of Education can compensate him bu all in vein.

Getting views on the matter, newly appointed Regional Education Director for Zambezi, Mr. Austin Samupwa referred all queries to Ms. Ndopu.

 “ I have never seen Mr. Mibonda for the last two years find out from the CRO,” explained Mr. Samupwa.

Chief Regional Officer further noted in the letter “ you are again hereby reminded that following the mediation meeting that was held on 25 February 2010, at the Ministry of Labour   and Social Welfare your case was settled and the said settlement remains as such”.

 

BACKGROUND

 

 “I was verbally commissioned by the Director Mr. Lovemore Lupalezwi (now deceased) and the former Circuit Inspector now retired Mr. Albius Maloboka as if it was a cattle post and I obliged in favour of respect for my superiors but my powers were totally abused. So I want the Ministry to compensate me. I can’t do Government work for free,” Mr. Mibonda said.

 

After his commissioning in 2004, Mr. Mibonda claims he approached the then Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education who said Masambo was just a satellite School.

He further said that he made some enquiries with the former regional Director Mr. Lupalezwi but could not manage to solve the issue and has gone to the extent of forwarding his grievances to the office of the current permanent secretary Mr. Alfred Ilukena who seemingly failed to address the matter only advising him to forward his grievances to the office of the Chief Regional Officer (CRO), which he did.

 

When all efforts to have the Education Ministry own up proved futile, Mr. Mibonda was forced to approach the Ministry of Labour for mediation where he alleges that the Director was even angry and challenged him saying he can beat him during mediation. He was only allegedly offered N$2 400 taxable transport allowance by the Education Ministry, which stands at N$1 584 after deductions.

 

“Both the Labour and Education Ministry did not do it according to the law, because there were no signed documents. I even challenged the PS to come up with the documents that I could sign but he failed to do so. I consider that payment as bribery and that was a tea break. Now I’m waiting for my lunch and supper, the Director, PS and the inspector they do not want to listen to me because of my background of being a Totela,” explained Mr. Mibonda.
In January last year, he approached the office of the regional Governor with the same grievances and was advised to put them on paper, which he did but that did not also bare any fruit.
As a last resort, the Regional Governor, Hon. Alfea Lawrence Sampofu, advised him to approach the office of the Ombudsman since the Former Education Director of the region did not want to entertain himself in the issue.

 

 Mr. Mibonda before his approach to the Governor’s Office the matter was already with the office of the Ombudsman and two people were delegated to come and investigate the matter but failed to dig it out as they seemingly to be in favor of the Director and 2011 October, himself took the same grievances back to the Ombudsman where he was hoping that the matter would be  resolved and find a solution.

However, the principal claims that an investigation into the matter prior to his approach to the governor’s office for assistance found that his demands were legitimate and that the amount he is claiming should be paid to him as the appointment was approved by the PS but though they based it on a satellite School.

 

“My rights were violated, because I didn’t know about them. I used my own resources, now they should compensate me with N$500 000 and if I was not appointed where did they get that money to pay me” he concluded.    

 The principal said that, Masambo Primary School took five years without a pay-point and the other three years without the school code after its establishment.

 

 

 


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