The Namibian (Windhoek)

18 January 2013

Namibia: Keetmans Mayor Hits Out Against Fellow Councillors

THE mayor of Keetmanshoop, Moses Titus, has accused the town council's management committee and the top administrative staff of holding the town's progress hostage.

Titus claimed in his New Year's statement on Tuesday that the management committee and council administrators deliberately do not convene meetings and as a result postpone the implementation of much-needed development projects.

"We have received ministerial approval for the allocation of houses to beneficiaries through the alienation scheme, but until this day for almost a year it still remains between the administration and the management committee," Titus said.

Titus said because of persistent delays in decision-making, he was forced to call special meetings for the progress of the town, adding that some councillors even boycotted these gatherings.

"Some councillors can rightly register themselves as trip councillors because that is the only time you see them," Titus added.

Among others, Titus accused the administration and management committee of stifling the allocation of land for infrastructure development.

"The office of the governor [Karas Governor Bernadus Swartbooi] has written various letters for the allocation of land for development purposes. It seems our motto is a total silence and cause of frustration," Titus remarked.

Titus also took issue with the management committee's alleged reluctance to act on misconduct allegations levelled against senior staff members.

"The administration and the management committee are quick to charge and respond on issues [misconduct] of junior staff while the elite seems to be above the law, thanks to the protection of the powerful hand of the management committee," Titus fumed.

He did not go into detail about the misconduct claims against the council's managers.

The council's management committee chairperson, Willy Kotze, rejected Titus's claims that the committee members were stifling the town's progress.

"Yes, we could not hold regular meetings due to the number of special meetings which had consumed much of our time. Indeed, more development projects saw the light because of the special meetings. This council has achieved much more in terms of development in one year compared to the six years the previous council had served," said Kotze.

Kotze also disagreed that the management committee was hesitant to act against senior officials accused of misconduct.

"Why did we send the CEO on special leave if we were reluctant to act against senior staffers?" Kotze asked.

Towards the end of last year, the management committee adopted a motion to send the council's chief executive officer, Paul Vleermuis, on special leave to pave the way for an unhindered investigation into alleged financial irregularities.

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