Karasburg Mayor, Maria Veldskoen and her political colleagues in the town council were allegedly instructed by their political party not to respond to a letter from Urban and Rural Development Minister, Erastus Uutoni.
Last week, Uutoni penned a letter to Veldskoen, requesting her and other members of the council to reverse various decisions they took without due process and report back to him on 8 September 2023.
However, a source inside the council who chose anonymity, told the Windhoek Observer that the Landless Peoples Movement-dominated council was instructed by their party not to respond to the Minister’s letter nor entertain media questions.
Part of Uutonis’ demands is that the council reverse their decision of changing signatory authorisation powers over the bank accounts of the Town Council and the delegated or assigned authorisation powers to councillor Franciskus Skeyer and the “un-procedurally” appointed Chief Executive Officer Hansina Isaaks.
Uutoni accused the mayor of playing a direct and leading role in the changing of door locks to some of the offices of the Council with the aim of blocking access of some staff members, the reported misuse of the Mayoral vehicle and that the said vehicle is being driven by a person or persons who or are not appointed and thus not authorised to use or drive the said vehicle.
“If this is true, this act is in violation of Rule 2 (0) of the Code of Conduct for Local Authority Councillors. Your Worship is reported to have caused the appointment of Southern Security Services, to render security services to the Council, and an expense in the amount of N$16,414.00 has been incurred while such expense was not budgeted for.
The reported spending of public funds which are not budgeted for is a violation of both the Local Authorities Act, 1992 as amended and the State Finance, 1991 (sections 6 and 17) and those involved in this act will be held liable and accountable individually or collectively,” cautioned Uutoni.
The minister also took issues with the reported appointment of the law firm Metcalf and Beukes Attorneys and payments made to the said institution in the amount of N$64,782.00.
“I am hereby directing you and other members of the Council and administration who caused the change in signatory powers over the Council’s bank accounts to reverse the decision and revert such powers or authority back to those who are legally vested and entrusted with such responsibility, namely the legitimately appointed CEO and staff members charged with financial management.
I am equally directing you and others involved that no payments must be effected under the un-procedural change of signatory powers. You and others involved are hereby cautioned that any unauthorised person who signs off any payments from the Council’s accounts will be held responsible and accountable,” warned Uutoni.
He added that the persistent violations and disregard of the law and prescribed good governance procedures as well as his directives by the mayor and others is a great concern.
“I am once again directing you and the entire Council to respect and adhere to laid down legal and administrative procedures and to uphold the law as per the oath of office that you took when you took office,” urged Uutoni.
Several attempts to get comments from Veldskoen, proved futile as her phone went unanswered nor did she respond to messages sent to her number.