Suspension saved Karasburg from going into the dustbin – Swapo councillors

Martin Endjala

One of the suspended Swapo Councillors of the Karasburg Town Council, Elia Hauwanga says the decision undertaken by the Urban and Rural Development Minister Erastus Uutoni, to suspend the entire council, has saved the town from going into the dustbin.

Hauwanga told the Windhoek Observer yesterday that both the Swapo party and the Independent Patriot for Change (IPC) view the suspension executed by the Minister as per the Government Gazette Notice under Section 92(9) Act no 23 of 1992 of the Local Authority, as the right decision.

“This has been long coming. We anticipated it to happen. Following our last meeting with the Minister in August 2023 in Windhoek, which the incumbent councillors of the Landless People’s Movement refused to attend, to account for the chaos they have been causing. The town was on the verge of collapsing and the residents were losing trust in us, so yes, I support the decision and I have no grudge whatsoever towards the Minister, because he was fair and just,” said Hauwanga.

The councillor explained that Uutoni tried to give the council time to clean up its house via various communication letters and directives to reverse all alleged misappropriation of council funds, signatories and violations of Local Authority recruitment procedures.

However, his directives were not taken seriously and hopes that the newly appointed administrator to handle the town council affairs on behalf of the minister and that the situation will be resolved amicably.

Another Swapo Councillor Frieda Amutenya echoed similar sentiments, stating that she has no problem with the decision, given numerous efforts by the Minister to try and remedy the situation.

According to her, the situation could have been avoided had the council adhered to the directives. She also highlighted that residents particularly pensioners were impacted by the mismanagement of council, as water and electricity bills rose, leading to a fallout with the residents, particularly those who were not affiliated to LPM.

Meanwhile, LPM Councilor Josef Witbooi, said that he was shocked by the suspension, however, due to ongoing discussions on the matter, he could not divulge further information until discussions are finalised.

On 15 March 2024, Karasburg Mayor Maria Veldskoen, Fransiskus Skeyer, Nesmus Mupiya, Josef Witbooi, Gregorius Ruhl, Elia Hauwanga and Frieda Amutenya were all suspended for failure to adhere to Uutoni’s directives and violating the local authority Act, a move that prompted wide debate amongst communities.

LPM’s Chairperson Policy Unit Lazarus Kairabeb, in response to this, said lies, fabrication and bigotry were at play on Friday in Karasburg when UUtoni addressed the community.

He allegedly paraded and twisted the truth in turning a blind eye to the efforts made by the council to change the dysfunctional administration of Karasburg into a productive institution of note.

Kairabeb explained that since LPM took over the council in 2020, they have been grappling with issues of trust and faith because of disorganisation, disobedience, and the general lackadaisical attitude of senior and junior staff members towards councillors.

He argued that massive looting took place under the same administrators, asking why is the minister only acting now when he failed to tackle the looting by officials under the previous council.

He believes that they are supposed to be a constitutional democracy and not a defensive democracy, however, following what transpired, the only solution against such impetuous and senseless actions he said, is challenging the Minister in the court of law.

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