BTA leadership squabble far from over

Staff Writer

The Blouwes Traditional Authority has been involved in a long battle for recognition after the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development turned down the request to consider Johannes Benjamin Koopman, as chief of the authority five years ago.

In 2010, an application to designate Salomon Kooper as the chief of BTA was filed at the then Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development which was approved in October the same year.

However, according to documents the application was a breach of Section 4 and 5 of the Traditional Authorities Act and was subsequently withdrawn by the ministry as it was submitted by a single member of the Veldskoendraes and not the authorised traditional authority.

In 2013 an application was then submitted for Koopman’s recognition, but the ministry failed to consider the application.

“Despite the application for designation meeting the requirements as prescribed by the Act, the ministry failed to officially consider same and remained with its stance that the issue fell within the ambit of formal dispute, as is evidence by formal notification of a chieftain succession dispute,” read the documents from the ministry.

In response to BTA’s March application to name Koopman as their new traditional leader, the Local Government’s Permanent Secretary, Sirkka Ausiku, stated in a letter to BTA in 2013 that it would initiate an investigation into the succession conflict.

Acknowledging receipt of BTA’s application for Koopman, who was elected by the authority’s elders after the death of acting chief Moses Jacobs in 2012, Ausiku only informed BTA that the then minister of Local Government, Charles Namoloh, will appoint an investigation committee to look into the leadership dispute that arose after the death of late Chief Hans Johannes Titus in 2009.

Jacobs, who acted thereafter, has been involved in the Blouwes community leadership for 37 years, died at the age of 75 after a long illness.

A break-away faction calling themselves /Hawoben traditional community in 2011 designated their leader Dawid Casius Gertze as chief without government approval or recognition.

Gertze had been installed as the chief of /Hawoben traditional community despite a directive by the former local government minister, Jerry Ekandjo, to halt his coronation until such time that the BTA leadership dispute had been resolved.

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