23 January 2013

Namibia: Tender Controversy At Keetmans Council

TWO Keetmanshoop catering companies are considering legal action against the Keetmanshoop Town Council following its decision to cancel a tender of N$30 000 it had awarded to them.

The companies, MV Event Planners and Caterers and #Nu#goaes Caterer and Decor, claim to have been granted a tender for supplying food at a Christmas party the council had organised for 500 local pensioners in December.

The council informed the catering companies two days before the party that it had revoked the tender.

The owner of MV Planners and Caterers, Michael Wimmerth, demanded to be refunded half of the tender amount, failing which he would consider suing the council.

According to Wimmerth, a "misunderstanding" between the councillors and the administrative staff led to the cancellation of the tender.

"It just unfair, because of disagreements among the councillors and the administrative staff we are now at the receiving end," he said.

\#Nu#goaes Caterer and Decor is owned by Richard Alcock.

Alcock, who is a relative of Mayor Moses Titus (DTA), refused to talk to The Namibian.

At the centre of the tender controversy are council management committee members Margaret Snewe (DPN) and Mathilda Isaaks (RDP), who allegedly instructed the municipality's administrative staff to revoke the catering tender.

Snewe said the council decided at a special meeting not to invite tenders, adding that the administrative staff disregarded the decision.

"This is a gross violation of personnel rules, which call for disciplinary measures against the culprits [administrative staff]," said Snewe.

Snewe claimed that the council administration under CEO Paul Vleermuis was out to undermine the council's decisions because it is dominated by opposition parties.

The opposition parties occupy four seats in the council against the three of Swapo.

According to Snewe, the council decided long before the tender was advertised that an organising committee consisting of staff members and councillors would handle the logistics for the Christmas party.

She added that the organising committee spent only N$20 000 on the party while the administrative staff wanted to spend N$30 000.

When contacted, Vleermuis and Isaaks refused to comment.

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