Namibia: New CEO Vows to Mend Otavi Fences

The newly appointed CEO of Otavi Town Council, Sakaria Wodibo Haulofu, said he brings new dimensions to revive the town, as well as enforce cohesion within the workforce.

He said this is the only way the town can grow and develop when all stakeholders are marching towards attaining a common goal.

"I would like to paint our institution with a different brush, a brush that seeks to bring order, discipline, accountability and teamwork," said Haulofu who was previously in charge of Okongo Village Council in the Ohangwena region.

"I am not here to feast on media reports, I am here to work. We will mend the fence until our pliers give in. Therefore, it is my hope that the inhabitants see what changes are brought about, then gain confidence and trust in the institution again. Without the inhabitants, Otavi would cease to exist. We ask for patience and general cooperation from the inhabitants."

In addition, the CEO said he regards the speedy implementation of pending lawful council resolutions as an important task, thereafter; he aims to improve revenue collection and reduce debt.

"No matter where I find myself, my priority has always been local economic development (LED). To create a conducive space for LED to flourish, to bring a buzz in LED and uplift the livelihoods of the people we serve. It is my hope that I can bring together the council, the business community and the residents in order to make Otavi great. I would like to start with the beautification of the town, by creating a different Otavi Town Council brand, one where our work speaks for itself," promised Haulofu.

His immediate tasks would include the construction of municipal services such as water, sewer and drilling of boreholes as well as the electrification of New Cairo, which is a new reception area.

Road maintenance, establishment of an SME forum, facilitation of the construction of Build Together, Shack Dwellers Federation and National Housing Enterprises (NHE) houses are among Haulofu's primary projects. Others include the re-location of the dumping site, construction of a trickling filtering sewerage plant, which he hopes could foster urban agriculture. "I cannot conclusively give you the plans, but change has come to Otavi," stated Haulofu.

Haulofu comes at a time when the institution is sailing in troubled waters, with a divided council following a ministerial audit that uncovered issues of maladministration, as well as unauthorised staff promotion, and salary hikes. It was recommended council needs to make resolutions and rectify all these issues, and hold those responsible, accountable. Former acting CEO Ernst Gaoab allegedly promoted himself unprocedurally.

The council has reportedly also been told by the ministry of urban and rural development to charge him with abusing his position and to recover all the money paid to other staff members as a result of the irregular promotions since 2019. Asked how he intends on resolving and restoring the residents' trust and hope in the organisation, Haulofu said there are authorities entrusted to deal with the matter, until such time investigations are complete, and resolutions taken by the council for further action.

"I believe the issue of organisational conflict from maladministration, irregularities carried out by employees as claimed are all just allegations, and they must be treated as such. For now, the audi alteram partem (Let the other side be heard as well) rule must be applied in spirit and to the letter by relevant authorities to determine the legitimacy or validity of the said allegations."

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