Less than six months after assuming the mantle at Rehoboth, mayor Rudi Van Wyk wants disciplinary charges against the troubled town’s CEO Simeon Kanime.
In an 87-page dossier, with photographic evidence, the mayor’s office alleged corruption, gross negligence, and gross abuse of authority, among an array of administrative failings.
Van Wyk, who swept to power following last year’s November local authority elections on the ticket of the Rehoboth Independent Town Management Association (RITMA), which he co-founded last year, laid out the allegations in a letter to the chairperson of the management committee, Hardap governor and the minister of urban and rural development.
He said the matters are serious and charges of “governance negligence and lack of accountability and therefore need your urgent attention and action”.
“I would like to make it crystal clear that this document is only the tip of all the problems not addressed or poorly done,” reads the letter.
The mayor also demanded a written accountability report and a disciplinary process on matters including the procurement of prepaid water meters, lost of tender bidding documents, appointment of Item Engineering without request for exemption or direct procurement, non-completion and substandard capital projects, misconduct due to the disobeying or unruly behaviour during the revoking of delegated powers, uncommunicated trips and leave, and no provision of supporting documents with payments.
He also claimed e-mails have been deleted from email server.
The youthful mayor alleges that after closing of the bidding process for the provision of pre-paid water meters, the bid evaluation committee, after the evaluation and assessment of all bidding documents, recommended to the CEO that the bid be re-advertised as all bidders were found to be non-compliant.
However, “after the submission of all documents to the office of the CEO, he then filed a report to the procurement committee that all biding documents got lost, without any valid excuse. A charge of gross negligence has to be laid”.
“After having reported the matter to the Procurement Committee that all documents are lost, it is found that Mr Kanime submitted to the Ministry of Finance: Procurement Policy Unit for the appointment of Item Engineering Company for the supply of the pre-paid water meters to Rehoboth Town Council.
“The request for appointment of the Item Engineering as recommended by Mr Kanime to the Procurement Unit was declined. Nonetheless, the CEO used his power as accounting officer and issued a appointment letter to Item Engineering) for the supply and delivery of prepaid water matters, which is successfully completed and payment processed for the delivery of the meters,” he claimed.
Kanime yesterday said the mayor promised to destroy him if he wouldn’t obey his instructions.
He said, “The procurement of meters was necessitated by Covid-19. I did not want council to lose out on revenue and the solution was to procure meters. An executive and strategic decision had to be made to safeguard council from huge debts with the supplier. It was even long before the new councillors came. So, I don’t know what the fuss is with Rudi”.
“There were no funds for the general valuation and I ordered it to be cancelled before we allocate. When our line ministry assured us that it will fund the project. The process was re-run from scratch and the procurement process took place procedurally.”
He further recommended that the mayor get his side of the story on everything “before he goes ballistic”.
“I, therefore, request that council be audited to prove the mayor’s allegations of abuse.... If there is a cure for any diseases that causes people to speak without any facts, I recommend that the racist and antagonistic mayor of Rehoboth be treated with such cure,” said Kanime.
The battle between the new mayor and the town’s CEO went south when the mayor revealed a nasty exchange that he had with Kanime on social media last week.
Van Wyk posted: “Kanime, sorry Mr Chief Fail-2-Excute Officer. No funny business. I will show you mine (not much at least it is real), show me yours, if any? Not online sh*t please. Or I it a separate investigation regarding qualifications. Rehoboth community, I applied to you for a change to help Rehoboth; this is part of the cleaning up process.” [Sic]
He then posted all his qualifications and even school athletics certificates.
He also posted a series of screenshots of WhatsApp messages between himself and the CEO.
Kanime reportedly told Van Wyk: “I think inferiority complex catches up on you. Can’t you just do your work and leave me alone?”
This was a riposte on Van Wyk posting on Facebook the details of a council meeting last Thursday, where he said he has to invite the public, as the CEO failed to do so.
The troubled town that has gone through the wringer in the last few years owes NamPower N$133 million.
In March 2018, the then urban and rural minister Peya Mushelenga appointed Natalia /Goagoses to run the affairs of the council that was marred by mismanagement, poor service delivery and lack of accountability after he suspended the elected officials.
/Goagoses’ appointment was to restore order and normalise the operations at the council that was deemed dysfunctional.
She handed back the council in October 2019, after appointing Kanime as CEO in August that year, with seemingly all of the historic challenges still intact.
/Goagoses was recently named as deputy minister of urban and rural development.