Covid-19 burials torment Kavango East Regional Council

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

The Kavango East Regional Council has been dragged to court by a construction company that dug graves that were to be utilized for burial by persons whose loved ones succumbed to the Covid-19 virus.

WFA Construction CC is claiming that the Regional Council owes them a total N$641 820 for the rental and use of a Tractor-Loader Backhoe (TLB), for the digging of the graves, and the rental and use of a bulldozer for the clearing and cleaning of 20 hectares of land in September 2020.

According to documents filed at the Windhoek High Court, the Regional Council represented by former Chief Regional Officer, Ludwig Thikusho, and WFA represented by Fourie De Villiers had an oral agreement that WFA would attend to the digging of graves required for purposes of burials of Covid-19 pandemic fatalities and excess deaths in Rundu.

WFA is claiming it was also responsible for the debushing of the Covid-19 burial site, diesel transportation, salaries, and posting guards on shifts to safeguard the heavy equipment, as the council required the heavy equipment to remain on the site.

“The Plaintiff would attend to the digging of graves required for purposes of burials due to the Covid-19 pandemic and excess deaths in Rundu on an urgent basis; the 1st Defendant deemed the digging services as an emergency and required the works to commence immediately and the burial site to be completed in the shortest time in anticipation of possible mounting of Covid-19 deaths,” the documents read.

The company commenced work on 16 September 2020 however, on 25 September 2020 the council notified the construction company to cease all work, at which state WFA had already cleared two hectares of land.

The documents further indicate that the council was supposed to pay WFA for the works, which included all costs relating to the rendering of the services as well as the rental and use of the plaintiff’s TLB and bulldozer, within 30 days of rendering the invoice, alternatively within a reasonable time.

WFA claimed between August 2020 and October 2020, it invoiced the council 4 invoices amounting to N$ 697 570 of which only N$ 55 770 was paid in August 2021 leaving an outstanding balance of N$641 820.

The case was heard yesterday for a status report for the defendant to file a condonation application after the matter was postponed last month for the legal practitioner for the Regional Council to recuse himself.

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