By: Andrew Kathindi
Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes has claimed that councillors were not aware that a request had been made for them to get top of the range iPad Air costing about N$17 000 each.
This comes after the councillors at the coast town have come under fire for the procurement of Apple devices that will take N$117 000 from the local authority’s N$3 million upgrading of IT network budget.
“To be honest, when we heard that it was procured, we saw it on social media also as councillors. We were not aware that the process is on-going,” Forbes told The Villager.
However, Walvis Bay documents seen by The Villager show that a request was made by the councillors before it was later approved and treated as a matter of urgency by the executive management.
Three companies – Telecom Namibia (N$123 208), MTC (N$117 382) and Supertronix Walvis Bay (N$126 086) then were invited to provide quotes. The deal was given to MTC.
“I think the general managers took the decision to order these devices because they also saw the necessity for us to have devices to attend all meetings. The process goes through procurement and as you know, councillors are not involved in procurement directly.”
Quizzed on whether they could have reversed the decision when they found out about it, Forbes stated “it was a bit late.”
He further stated that at the moment all councillors are in agreement on the matter of the iPads and that there is no split.
Quizzed on whether the councillors could not rather have used their cell phones or laptops to conduct these virtual meetings and to store documents, Forbes stated, “It was already procured so let’s make the best of this.
“If we have to pay it off, then so be it, but I also think it would be the best option because devices get outdated after five years and I don’t think we can leave behind outdated iPads for other councillors to use.”
Forbes argued that it cost the municipality N$72 000 a year to print papers needed for meetings.
Walvis Bay activist Knowledge Ipinge recently called the purchase of the devices as wanton excess.
“Council has thus cancelled this operational instrument which is the upgrading of the IT network which is an administrative issue in order to favour their lifestyle and their desire for luxury gadgets.
“So, it can never be correct that we have leaders who don’t prioritise service delivery but are thinking about personal interests and personal benefits,” he said.