Karibib Mayor under fire after opening a new betting business

Martin Endjala

The Mayor of Karibib, Davey van Wyk has come under fire after he reportedly opened a sports betting business, which he is operating in a government building.

The business, reportedly situated on the main road of the town, has caused frustration among residents, saying that the mayor’s decision to turn the building, that has not been used for 12 years into his own personal business, is uncalled for.

The building used to be a government property used as the town’s library. After some time, the library moved to a different building across the road and has since then been out of use.

A community member who spoke to the Windhoek Observer on condition of anonymity, said that the community has inadequate recreational facilities such as swimming pools, libraries, and many others, adding that the building could be utilized for such purposes instead.

He stated that a betting business is just another form of draining the poor locals, who he says are already finding it hard to make ends meet, suggesting that it could have been better if the building was turned into something that can benefit the community of Karibib and not an individual.

“How can a person like the mayor do something like this? This is an abuse of power and we want him to be held accountable. It is his personal business but he is flexing his mayoral powers to purchase land for himself. Any business coming to Karibibi or any town for that matter, community members ought to be consulted but this was not the case”, said the anonymous community member.

Community members are also alleging that the business is not fully registered and is already operational.

The source also claims that efforts to try and engage the mayor on the matter were unsuccessful, alleging that he refused to engage them on the matter, saying that it was his own place and that he could do whatever he wants with it.

In addition to this, Karibib Chief Executive Officer, Lesley Goreseb, confirmed the community’s unrest over the Mayor’s sports betting business but reiterated that according to the laws of the local authority, he argued that the Mayor did not do this as a Mayor but in an individual capacity and thus stressing that the council cannot get involved at all.

He further indicated that the council received a petition from the community and it is expected to be part of discussions on the 30th of March 2023 when the council resumes in the chamber.

Goreseb also informed this publication that he informed the Mayor about it when asked if he brought the matter to the Mayor’s attention, adding that it is up to the Mayor to make the next step given that it is his own place.

Meanwhile, when the publication interviewed Mayor Davey Van Wyk on the matter, he said there seems to be a certain group which is politicizing the matter and not the whole community as many are made to believe.

“Bottom line is that is being politically motivated by a certain group of people, and I wish I knew them to engage them and discuss further the matter to hear their plans, but the same people never approached me, and that is why I decided just to ignore the nose,”He said.

Van Wyk said that the group, marched to petition against his new sports betting business, of which many community members refused to partake, stating that it’s a clear indication that someone or a group of people are out to get him at all costs.

“After they realise that I was not budging, they turned to the media, and they are free to exercise their right, but however, I did not do anything illegal, and I will never do that, I so that this building has been unoccupied for many years and it is dilapidating, hence I felt to come in and renovate it and make it it a business since we cannot open bars in the main road of the town, and we do not even sell alcohol, only non-alcohol, for those passing through to make a quick stop and grab refreshments for themselves”, Van Wyk explained.

The Mayor stressed that all his papers are in order and that he as a Mayor is always open to ideas and opportunities to develop the town while praising the town to be the only town which has controlled alcohol in the Central Business District where there are no liquor outlets are allowed to operate.

Additionally, he lamented that as an individual he has his own businesses which help sustain him and his family, a bar and a guesthouse, his current business he said, has employed three young people with the aim to hire more young people should it boom.

He indicated that the town has a number om unused buildings which are in dilapidating status and need urgent intervention to be revived and turned into productive buildings to generate income, one of which is a gym, and he is in current talks with the owner to revive it and rent it out for community activities.

“The unrest being directed towards me, is it because it is me of or is it the fact that I turned the building into a sports betting business, which one is which?,” van Wyk questioned.

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