KEETMANSHOOP – Swapo coordinator in //Kharas Matheus Mumbala fears the suspension of three officials in the region could compromise the delivery of services. Two local authority CEOs as well as the region’s top administrator have all been suspended over the last couple of months.
The suspended officials include //Kharas CRO Beatus Kasete, Oranjemund Town Council CEO Shali Akwaanyenga and Keetmanshoop municipality CEO Desmond Basson.
In May this year, Basson was placed on administrative leave for three months. In a statement, municipal spokesperson Dawn Kruger said the decision was taken during a special council meeting.
“This meeting was convened to deliberate on the matter of the CEO signing a service level agreement with Maximum Profit Recovery Namibia (Pty) Ltd. on 6 August 2018,” she explained in the statement.
Kruger said the agreement was entered without the co-signature of the then chairperson of the management committee, Gabriel Freyer.
Earlier this month, Oranjemund councillors suspended Akwaanyenga following reports that he had clashed with town mayor Elias Kasemba of Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) over alleged misuse of council funds.
Confidente reported Akwaanyenga had written to Kasemba explaining the usage of the mayoral vehicle and fuel used between 4-6 April 2021.
On 25 June, a special council meeting of the //Kharas Regional Council also resolved to suspend CRO Kasete. In his last interview with New Era, Kasete indicated he was yet to be issued the charge sheet. Mumbala said the entire region was in the dark over the spate of suspensions involving the two local authority chief administrators and regional administrative head. “If one considers that these suspended officials are now paid with public funds whilst idling at home then it can be closely linked to economic sabotage of our region,’’ said Mumbala. The politician added inhabitants in the region as a whole are now left in the dark as there are still no valid reasons made public that led to the suspension of the three officials. “These people were appointed based on their required qualifications, knowledge and skills through the respectable institutions in terms of laid down procedures and regulations, hence it should also be established that their suspensions have been effected accordingly,’’ said Mumbala. He questioned why Kasete in his suspension letter has been instructed not to leave the Keetmanshoop district as part of the council’s agreement to continue remunerating him whilst on suspension. “Is the regional council’s management committee chairperson now also the law enforcement authority, prohibiting people to move freely whilst suspended, does the overruling Public Service Act 13 of 1995 applicable to regional councils allow for this?’’ The regional coordinator also said his party was not interfering with the affairs of the administration of the region, but rather wants processes to be finalised as soon as possible in terms of governing rules and regulations. “The people of //Kharas region have the right to demand when these officials will be brought before disciplinary inquiries if needed and as to when its outcomes will be announced accordingly, if there are more delays it might lead to unnecessary court battles in the end,’’ he added. He continued the party is more than willing to sit with the regional council and local authorities to shed more light on these suspensions. “It is thus imperative that other political parties should come on board now, joining hands with us to solve these administration squabbles for the benefit of our residents,” said Mumbala. The politician also said it is the view of Swapo that officials should be reinstated with immediate effect. “If not, their employers should go public and announce the crimes these suspects allegedly committed since the electorate have the democratic right to know,” he said. “Investigations should be finalised as a matter of urgency in order for justice to be done as our people will only suffer more if this drags on any longer.” Despite various requests, both the Oranjemund local authority and //Kharas Regional Council have not responded to questions sent to them over the two suspensions.