KEETMANSHOOP - //Kharas region’s Landless People’s Movement (LPM) councillors, Gerrit Witbooi and Anseline Beukes are no longer members of the National Council.
Beatus Kasete, //Kharas Chief Regional Officer informed New Era that his office received a letter from the office of the secretary of the National Council, indicating that the two councillors seized to be members of the NC representing the region as from 9 April 2021. “This letter furthermore details that councillors Witbooi and Beukes are no longer members of the law-making authority since the day of being elected as members of the //Kharas regional council’s management committee,” he explained.
It further reads that this decision has been taken in terms of section 18, subsection 4 of the Regional Councils Act of 1992, which states that, “a member of a regional council, who is elected as a member of the management committee of the regional council, under this section is not eligible for election as a member of the National Council under section 26.”
The letter also states that the two positions for representatives from //Kharas in the NC are now vacant and that the regional council should elect two new members. Swapo //Kharas regional coordinator Matheus Mumbala said the party will respect the decision taken and obey statutory regulations like the Regional Councils Act.
“We are willing to work with LPM if they wish so to have a system of shared governance,” he said. The politician added that Swapo, since the election of the new regional councillors late last year, called on LPM to divide the allocation of seats for the management committee and National Council on a more equal base, but that they declined the proposal. “If one now interprets the law correctly, it means that the two vacancies in the National Council should now be filled by Swapo councillors,” he argued.
Mumbala based his reasoning on the fact that the two LPM councillors who ceased to be members of the NC cannot be elected to the NC whilst the regional council chairperson is also not eligible.
Gibson Christians, LPM grassroot commissar for
//Kharas, when approached for comment, was adamant that the status quo will remain.
“Our two regional councillors were legally elected to the National Council and we furthermore stand by the court’s decision that Witbooi and Beukes have been duly elected as members of the //Kharas regional council’s management committee,” he said.
Christians also raised concern with “Swapo’s delaying tactics”, hampering development in the region by not attending the election for members of the management committee twice.
“We will not allow Swapo to continue neglecting //Kharas region as they did the past 30 years,” he said.
Efforts to get comment from the two councillors were futile at the time of going to press.