KEETMANSHOOP: Two members of the management committee in the Keetmanshoop Municipality boycotted a committee meeting last month because of outstanding issues within the municipal council.
The two council members – Margaret Snewe and Mathilde Isaaks – also wrote a letter to council, mayor Moses Titus and the municipality’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paul Vleermuis on 01 January 2013, saying they are not comfortable with any meeting of the management committee unless the pending issues and charges against the CEO and others are dealt with and resolved.
A source within the council who spoke to Nampa on condition of anonymity on Wednesday said Snewe of the Democratic Party of Namibia (DPN) and the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP)’s Isaaks did not show up for the council meeting on 29 January 2013.
“They did so because they want the CEO and two administrative staff members to be charged and fired. There is a serious fight between the opposition parties’ councillors, the mayor, the CEO and the ruling party councillors,” said the informant.
The source further alleged that there are two camps in the council – one favouring mayor Moses Titus and opposition parties’ councillors, and the other for Swapo councillors and Vleermuis.
“These two councillors are holding the council hostage because without them attending meetings, approval for work on projects cannot go ahead,” said the source.
Both Isaaks and Snewe confirmed their boycott of the meeting, but were not prepared to add anything else.
Vleermuis is facing charges such as wrongfully appointing a legal practitioner to act on behalf of the council in a labour case between council and a staff member in September 2012, in addition to 15 other charges, ranging from negligence to incompetence.
“The Municipality of Keetmanshoop, being your employer, has reason to believe that you are unfit for your duties and incapable of carrying out such duties efficiently, hence the charges against you,” read an official document which outlines the charges against Vleermuis.
Human Resources’ Officer Andre Blaauw and Finance Manager Quinton Visagie are also facing charges of negligence and incompetence.
Visagie told this reporter that he was not officially informed about the charges against him, and this confirms a statement from the anonymous source that the accused staff members have not yet been informed of the charges against them.
The chairperson of the Management Committee, Willie Kotze on Wednesday confirmed that the meeting did not take place because of the two councillors’ absence.
“The complaint letter I received has nothing to do with the management committee, it is a council issue,” he noted.
Kotze also admitted that the absence of the councillors delays the implementation of projects, which were supposed to be discussed at that meeting.
He, however, denied that there are two camps, saying they do not mix their political affiliation with work. Thus, there is no fight between the ruling party and opposition leaders.
Titus hung up the phone immediately after hearing that the call was from this reporter, while Vleermuis was apparently busy in meetings the whole of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.