Uutoni to attend an urgent meeting withKarasburg Town Council amid employment chaos

Martin Endjala

Urban and Rural Development Minister Erastus Uutoni, is set to hold an urgent meeting today with Karasburg Town Council, which has been accused of employing some staff members illegitimately.

Last week, Uutoni wrote a letter to the Mayor of Karasburg, Maria Veldskoen, requesting for an urgent meeting to look into the state of affairs at the Town Council. The minister demanded that all councillors be present in the meeting.

“This letter serves to inform your good office that I would like to further engage all councillors regarding the state of affairs at the Karasburg Town Council as a follow-up to my visit on 29 June 2023 to your town.

“In that light, I am hereby inviting you, Your Worship and all councillors to an urgent consultative meeting scheduled for Monday, 21 August 2023 at 15H00, DDC Ministerial Boardroom. Therefore, it is important that all councillors be present at this particular meeting,” Uutoni said in his letter.

This comes after allegations surfaced that the appointments of the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hansina Christian and her personal assistant Kallie Goliath were done without following the requisite recruitment process. This is alleged to have caused the human resource practitioner in the council to refuse to hand over a laptop, documents and password to the acting CEO, causing one of the councillors to report the matter to the police recently.

The Landless People’s Movement-led council has been accused of appointing people to positions based on political affiliation.

Last month, Veldskoen wrote to //Kharas Regional Council Chairperson Joseph Isaacks, requesting him to intervene in what she termed as “ungovernable” Local Authority Karasbuirg Town Council while rising various concerns.

She said the situation at the Town Council has become unbearable and the employees are facing a situation that can lead to lost lives. Therefore, in order to prevent an unfortunate situation, they might be forced to close the doors to Council.

“What is on the ground presently, is that the Council’s authority is not recognized, the administrators blatantly direct the mayor to put whatever instruction she gives in writing, and there is a total gang up from staff against the Acting CEO and the Council. Staff blatantly refuse to recognise the Acting CEO seconded from the Keetmanshoop Municipality and to cooperate with her,” she said.

Veldskoen added that all Council properties (physical and intellectual) are in the possession of the administration and they simply refuse to share or hand over information, no cooperation from the local Police Force, Council has no quorum, there is a stand-off between the LPM-Councilors and the opposition administration supported by the left-wing councillors and the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.

“The ministry is fueling the fire between the Council and the workforce, these are but a few matters we are grappling with at this stage. The time has come for your urgent intervention to salvage the situation,” she expressed.

Earlier this month, the mayor had also terminated the employment contract of former CEO Nico Titus who was suspended last year but came back to work this year.

“Council at the Special Council Meeting of 09 August 2023 resolved that your services be terminated with immediate effect. You are thus called upon to hand over all Council property in your possession including intellectual property of Council by the end of business today, 09 August 2023. You are further called upon to vacate the Council property on or before Monday, 14 August 2023,” said Veldskoen.

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