KEETMANSHOOP - The position for acting Chief Regional Officer at //Kharas has become a poisoned chalice and is again vacant after Benedictus Diergaardt became the latest official to resign, when he threw in the towel last Friday after he was reportedly frustrated by ineffectual councillors.
Diergaardt, who is Deputy Director of Finance, was appointed as acting CRO after the sudden resignation of yet another acting CRO, Augustinus Ucham earlier this year, and Diergaardt got the nod to act in that capacity ahead of his senior, Director of Human Resources, Administration and Finance, Elizabeth Coetzee.
The acting CRO post has been under the spotlight due to the fact the only senior staffer at the council was overlooked, and the council and Urban Minister Peya Mushelenga have exchanged letters trying to resolve the issue, but this has been in vain so far. Diergaardt on Friday quit as acting CRO, saying he will no longer serve as head of an institution that has no direction.
He confirmed his resignation, saying he had upon taking the acting role given the council three months to get their act together, but this has not happened and he therefore decided to leave that position, indicating the councillors have failed to give clear direction on the way forward.
“Yes I resigned, I gave the council three months to sort things out and they did not, and I cannot be pushed from point A to B and B to C, I gave them time to sort this thing out and they have not been able to,” he said.
The issue of who should act as acting CRO has been a serious topic of discussion between the council and the urban minister, with the minister giving the council directives to make Coetzee acting CRO, but the council has on several times rejected these directives as they kept Diergaardt as their choice, but Diergaardt now says that he is no longer going to be caught in between, while a decision is yet to be made, adding that he feels like he is in the position illegally.
“I cannot work in such an environment where there is no direction, you as my employer need to give direction, at the moment there is no direction, the council cannot give direction and that is my problem, it is like I am sitting here illegally while they are the ones who appointed me,” he said.
Diergaadt also poured cold water on rumours that he had resigned because council have not paid him his acting allowance for three months, saying there is no truth in that and it is not a payment issue but a lack of clear vision and direction from the council that irks him, adding that he will be more than happy to assist the council in any capacity should councillors get their ducks in a row.
“It is not a payment issue, and I am willing to assist the council if the councillors get things in order, because now it is a thing of the minister said this and the council is saying this, I cannot work like that,” he said.
While the regional council is without any leadership head at the moment, the regional council chairperson Jan Scholtz is clueless and said he had no idea that the acting CRO has resigned.
Scholtz in a telephonic interview said that he was unaware of Diergaardt’s resignation as he has not seen his letter nor does he know why he had resigned.
“I did not receive any letter from him yet, so I am not aware that he had resigned,” he said.
Scholtz refused to comment on how a leaderless council will perform and how this might affect work and service delivery to the public.