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City legal battle drags on

2022-09-14  Maria Amakali

City legal battle drags on

Legal battles at the City of Windhoek are never-ending, as four Independent Patriots for Change councillors head to the High Court for a review of the council’s decision to hold a meeting where a motion of no confidence in the management committee was discussed and passed. 

The group, which is led by former management committee chairperson Ndeshihafela Larandja, wants the court to review and set aside the council’s decision of 12 July 2022, where it decided to hold a meeting on 23 August to discuss a vote of no confidence in the management committee. 

They further want the court to declare the meeting unlawful. 

Larandja, alongside fellow councillors Jurgen Hecht, Ottilie Saarty Uukule and Bernardus Araeb approached the High Court on an urgent basis to block the meeting from taking place. 

However, the court dismissed their application on 22 August.

The meeting took place as scheduled. 

The vote of no confidence was passed and the management committee was dissolved. 

It is the group’s view that judge Boas Usiku was misled as council’s lawyers submitted in court that the meeting in question was not going to discuss the motion of no confidence in the management committee, but it did.

The group is further seeking Rule 19 (1) and (4) of the Standing Rules, which deals with the procedures surrounding the convening and holding of the council meetings to be set aside, as it is inconsistent with some parts of the Local Authorities Act.

The hearing is scheduled to take place on Friday. 

Bona fide

Last week, former Windhoek mayor and Affirmative Repositioning councillor Job Amupanda wrote to mayor Sade Gawanas, requesting an urgent special council meeting at which the council was to iron out differences. 

In a memo seen by New Era, Amupanda said his call was made in good faith and to achieve social and political harmony in council.

“The past weeks have been eventful for all of us at council from negative publicity, court cases and change in the administrative leadership. Despite all these, we are to remain resolute in steering the ship and ensuring we are able to deliver and give direction to the residents of our city,” Amupanda said. 

The meeting was called off due to the legal tussles that have engulfed the city. 

“This memorandum hereby serves as a notification of the cancellation of the scheduled special council meeting, slated for 17h30 today [Monday],” mayor Gawanas wrote in a memo seen by this paper. 

She also informed the councillors that a decision was taken to appoint lawyer Sisa Namandje to represent the cash-strapped city in Friday’s court proceedings.  

Earlier this year, then MC member Hecht revealed the dire financial situation the council is in, having made a loss of N$3.2 billion in 10 years.

Residents and analysts have repeatedly pointed to the leadership tussles as a reason for the city’s inability to improve its services and deliver on the promises of housing and land parties made during their campaigns.

 

Genesis

In July, Keister moved a motion of no confidence in the then Independent Patriots for Change (IPC)-dominated MC, citing gross incompetence and external interference in terms of Rule 19 (2).

At the time, the politician said MC did not inspire any confidence in the municipal council, as well as Windhoek’s residents, as it was failing to implement resolutions while turning a blind to issues raised by councillors.

“As a result of this failure by the MC, the residents remain despondent and form an impression that council is unable to execute its duties,” Keister asserts.

She also accused the MC of exposing the entire council to a third force.

“This basically means that MC is not run by members of council as per the provisions of the Act but by external political interest. As a case in point, 99% of the members of MC are currently under several restrictions in terms of how they preside over specific matters,” she said.

The curtain would eventually fall on the IPC councillors, who now decided to soldier on with the fight. 

According to laws governing local authorities, a mayor, deputy mayor, chairperson or vice-chairperson shall vacate their roles if the local authority council resolves by a majority of all its members that it has no confidence in them.

- mamakali@nepc.com.na


2022-09-14  Maria Amakali

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