Residents expose Karasburg’s dirty laundry

Martin Endjala

Following a recent visit by Erastus Uutoni, the Minister of Urban and Rural Development to the Karasburg Town Council, residents were quick to expose the local authority’s purported dirty laundry.

One of the issues brought to light is the dormant build-together programme that was implemented by the ministry but has for a decade failed to construct new houses.

Angry residents claimed that the Council has been mismanaging the funds allocated to it, with some also revealing that some residents, who are on the list for houses to be built are those who have not been paying anything, whilst those from who monthly payments are deducted are left out of the process.

The appointment of an Acting Chief Executive Officer was deemed to be unprocedural and mismanagement of the Council’s funds. The appointment of a Personal Assistant to the council, and outstanding payments to NamPower and NamWater, were amongst other matters raised by the communities in letters addressed to the Minister.

Uutoni stressed that “it is this sort of behaviour that tarnishes the image of government by individuals who think they are above the law and can do whatever they want”.

He reiterated that the appointment of a CEO without following the proper channels is wrong, adding that communities cannot be led by an institute which operates in a manner that erodes the community’s trust.

“When the current office bearers conduct themselves in this manner, those who are observing this, will corrupt their ethical morals, and will also start to do the same thing, and if you try to guide or stop them, they will say, but my senior, you also did it, so why should I not, which will then be hard to manage and control such individuals,” Uutoni explained.

On the issues of housing, the Minister assured the residents that the government will look into the matter and see how best they can assist them, while also emphasising that if residents’ payments to the build-together programme are consistent, land can be allocated to build homes for them.

He urged residents to organize themselves and to invest in their future.

The Minister said he is cognizant that the frustration is that people are getting old, and still have no homes. He has since encouraged councillors and administrators to work together to deliver services to the community.

“We are not here to create chaos but to assist each other, learn from each other and inform you of the right procedures to follow,” he said.

Uutoni also urged the Councillors to consult the Local Authorities Act and the relevant personnel rules and to consult the ministry at all times.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Karasburg, Maria Veldskoon said that the town has been experiencing the challenges of unemployment, and slow economic development.

She, however, added that the town council is determined to continue fighting for the plight of its residents and providing much-needed services with the help of the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.

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