The Namibian (Windhoek)

7 February 2013

Namibia: Keetmans Councillors Boycott Meeting

PEEVED by outstanding issues which they claimed were not discussed at management committee level, Keetmans town councillors Mathilda Isaaks (RDP) and Margret Snewe (DPN) boycotted the January 29 council management meeting.

Prior to the scheduled meeting, the councillors wrote to the chief executive officer, Paul Vleermuis, council management committee chairperson Willie Kotze and mayor Moses Titus that they would not attend the meeting unless pending issues tabled in the previous meeting were dealt with and finalised.

The councillors demanded in the letter, of which The Namibian has seen a copy, that charges against Vleermuis and other senior staffers be dealt with and resolved.

Charges against Vleermuis relate to alleged execution of decisions without council approval.

Earlier an agreement was reached to settle a labour dispute out of court with chief administrative officer Hansina Isaacks at the advice of lawyer Gert van der Heever. However, the services of the lawyer were apparently enlisted without council approval and led to unhappiness among some councillors.

The charges against the council's human resources head Andre Blaauw and finance manager Quinton Visagie relate to alleged negligence and incompetence .

The Namibian understands that Vleermuis, Blaauw and Visagie have not yet been presented with formal charges.

Isaaks yesterday confirmed the letter, adding that the move to boycott the meeting was to exert pressure to have the outstanding issues resolved.

Titus yesterday said he had scheduled a full council meeting to discuss the grievances of the two councillors.

"I had a meeting with the management committee councillors to sort out their differences, but no agreement was reached at that meeting, therefore I called a full council meeting at which this issue would be discussed," said Titus.

For his part, Kotze said that he was responsible for convening the management committee meetings.

Vleermuis refused to comment.

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