WINDHOEK, 25 AUG – Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) parliamentarian Salmon Fleermuys has allegedly been under pressure from party leader, Hewat Beukes to pay him N.dollars 15 000 from his monthly salary since assuming his position in the National Assembly (NA).
Details of the matter were leaked to Nampa by a disgruntled WRP member who is familiar with the strained relationship between Fleermuys and Beukes.
According to the source, Beukes has been demanding the funds as a reward for allegedly having single-handedly landed Fleermuys the seat in the NA.
“It is payback time now for Fleermuys. We are tired of people running this party like a private institution,” the source, who preferred anonymity, complained.
When approached by Nampa to validate the claims, Fleermuys acknowledged being approached by Beukes on several occasions regarding the N.dollars 15 000 he expects from him.
He has however refused to succumb to Beukes’ demands.
“He has been forcing me to pay him money but I cannot do it. How do I pay someone who just sits at home? I work for this money,” he said.
Approached for his side of the story on Thursday, Beukes rubbished the claims, saying the funds are for the operations of the WRP, and not for his personal use as alleged.
He said Fleermuys signed a document in which he agreed to give a portion of his monthly salary to the party.
“They have to give N.dollars 15 000. They have signed for it!” he said, adding that “we struggle alongside workers. We are not there to make people rich.”
Asked why WRP parliamentarians are obliged to pay N.dollars 15 000 monthly, he replied: “We are a Marxist party. We are a revolutionary workers’ party. We reject these salaries they give to parliamentarians. These huge monies they receive is nonsense.”
He made it clear that the standard practice of revolutionary parties all over the world is that members participate in elections, they win seats and the money [salary] is given to the party.
Beukes argued that WRP lawmakers in the National Assembly ought not to get high salaries, but “the normal salary of a skilled worker”.
Approached for comment on the legality of the practice at WRP, former labour commissioner and labour Permanent Secretary, Bro-Mathew Shingwandja could not explicitly say whether or not it was illegal.
“The Labour Act does not deal with politicians. [But] in the Labour Act, there is nothing saying an employee can contribute to a political party or not. The deductions in terms of the Labour Act are very clear, only certain things [can be deducted]. It’s not based on the position of an employee,” said Shingwandja.
He further added that conditions differ for MPs and they are not covered by the Labour Act in terms of their working hours, amongst other things.