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Otjiwarongo councillors deny truancy

2023-04-06  Albertina Nakale

Otjiwarongo councillors deny truancy

Some local authority councillors at Otjiwarongo have accused fellow members of missing management committee meetings which are aimed to discuss pertinent developmental issues as these individuals apparently work outside the town.

The disgruntled council members alleged that two of the councillors serving on the management committee end up postponing meetings as they work far from Otjiwarongo. 

According to the town’s approved yearly calendar, management committee meetings have been scheduled for 25 January; 22 February; 19 April; 23 May, 21 June, 19 July; 23 August; 20 September; 18 October, while 15 November is the last day of the year before council goes on December recess. “This issue of management committee members missing or postponing meetings really affects us to convene council meetings. If management committee meetings are postponed, then council meetings are also postponed. The management committee has been postponed because members were not present. These councillors go for a whole week and only return during weekends. They always tender apologies and this delays issues to be discussed. They are the ones in the management committee but they are always absent,” lamented a councillor who refused to be mentioned. 

Another councillor said management and council meetings are planned for the whole year to discuss crucial issues but these gatherings do not take place on time due to management committee members being absent.

The concerned members pointed to a management committee meeting which was scheduled for 22 March 2023 but was postponed. 

“For instance, the meeting of 22 March 2023 only took place yesterday [Monday 3 April]. This is due to people not being committed. There are issues that need to be discussed but remain unaddressed. We are behind schedule. We want the councillors to honour the meetings. They make it inconvenient for others. This is poor time management,” another affected councillor complained. 

Contacted for comment, Godhard Hoko, who is the management committee chairperson, yesterday denied any wrongdoing.

“I am the chairperson and there have been no meetings that took place without me chairing. I can’t remember asking any member of the management committee to chair in my absence. I can assure you that there was no meeting shifted or missed due to other commitments by council members or MC members. We took the oath to serve the residents of Otjiwarongo,” Hoko reacted.

He explained that the meeting which was scheduled for 22 March could not be convened due to the independence celebrations which took place in Outapi on 21 March. 

According to him, as leaders, they were invited to attend the national celebrations.

Therefore, he confirmed the meeting only took place on Monday.

On allegations that he works outside town which forces members of the management committee to postpone meetings, Hoko said, “We reside in Otjiwarongo. We are full residents of Otjiwarongo. I was last employed in 2017 by Otjiwarongo municipality and I resigned to become a part-time politician.”

Another management committee member accused of working outside Otjiwarongo is councillor Hilda Jesaja who rubbished the allegations. “It is not true. There is no meeting that I missed. I attended all management committee meetings. I am a resident of Otjiwarongo. I have a house in Otjiwarongo and I pay rates and taxes in Otjiwarongo. I don’t have a house elsewhere other than Otjiwarongo.”

The town’s mayor Candy Shivute said the purpose of postponing the 22 March meeting was because members had to travel to Outapi for independence celebrations.

“The meeting was scheduled for 3 April 2023. All councillors attended except two from IPC and PDM. Thus far, no management committee meeting was missed. We are an institute of good governance and integrity. We go according to our plans. If anything comes up, we re-schedule the meetings to a more suitable date to accommodate everyone,” Shivute noted. 

According to the Local Authority Act, a member of the management committee shall vacate his or her office as such a member -(a) if he or she ceases to be a member of the municipal council or town council or if he or she is absent, without the leave of the management committee (MC), or, if the MC has authorised the chairperson to grant leave to members thereof, without the leave of the chairperson from three consecutive meetings and his or her absence is not condoned by the MC.

2023-04-06  Albertina Nakale

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