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Politicians drive wedge on road rehabilitation

2021-06-10  Steven Klukowski

Politicians drive wedge on road rehabilitation
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Senior political leaders from the ruling and opposition parties in the //Kharas and Hardap regions are at loggerheads over the mandate of recruiting a workforce for the ongoing construction and rehabilitation project on the Gibeon-Tses B1 tarred road.

Francois Dausab, chairperson of the Hardap Regional Council’s management committee during an interview with New Era, accused Hardap governor Salomon April of vowing to facilitate the recruitment of only Swapo members at the project. 

“The governor called community members of the two regions and when informed that they are Landless People’s Movement (LPM) members, he suggested that it is only fair for him to stand up for his Swapo supporters,’’ he alleged. 

Dausab also said April is driving a political agenda around the issue and is totally against the manner of recruitment for the project. 

“These regions are for all residents despite their race or political affiliation and if there are government projects which can create employment, all of them should benefit accordingly,’’ he added. The rehabilitation and widening of the B1 road between Mariental and Keetmanshoop is worth over N$550 million and around 800 people are expected to be employed in the two southern regions on the project.

The chairperson also said they tried to seek an audience with April but that the governor walked out of the meeting after a heated exchange of words. He continued that they would now convene a meeting with the councillors, Roads Authority and representatives of the employees at the site. 

Dausab further alleged April was recruiting only his family, friends and comrades, which he felt is an unfair labour practice. 

“It is in the interest of all of us that development needs to continue in Hardap and //Kharas region, but then we as stakeholders should sit around the table and iron out these political agendas first for the betterment of all our residents,’’ he said.

Hitting back

Responding to these allegations, governor April in a social media post, labelled the accusations as devoid of all truth. 

“It should be very clear that this road project is a national one with the Hardap and //Kharas governors being the focal persons in its implementation in ownership with the region’s residents and the Namibian nation at large,’’ he said. 

April said the project was already ongoing when the two chairpersons came into political power in the two regions. He said the right place for answers should be the governor’s office where the concerned persons can be provided with the correct information. 

“I, Salomon April (Hardap regional governor) and Aletha Frederick (//Kharas regional governor) did not recruit any person and therefore the premise that we only appointed Swapo supporters is thus devoid of all truth,’’ April said. 

“You should take note that this project will expand, thus needing more employees, hence not all those who applied can be accommodated now,’’ the governor advised the concerned group. 

April called on residents in the two regions to be patient and not allow themselves to be influenced by incorrect information and rather approach the governors’ offices first and verify such information before coming to conclusions. 

Meanwhile, //Kharas Regional Council’s management committee chairperson, Joseph Isaacks echoed Dausab’s concern that the recruitment manner for employment at the project is unfair.  “This, to my knowledge, is a capital project where the respective regional councils should have the mandate over the recruitment process,’’ he argued. 

– sklukowski@nepc.com.na


2021-06-10  Steven Klukowski

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