Swakopmund Municipality striving for transparency

09 Jun 2014 10:30am
SWAKOPMUND, 09 JUN (NAMPA) – Swakopmund Mayor Juuso Kambueshe says the municipality is doing its best to ensure transparency in its operations by opening its books to members of the public.
In a recent interview with Nampa, Kambueshe said unlike some local authorities that might not favour the idea of involving the community in their work, the Swakopmund council believes the public needs to know what is happening.
The mayor was asked for his opinion regarding transparency in the council and local authorities in general.
He noted that holding regular community meetings and inviting people to attend council meetings helps the council in that they can then obtain constructive criticism and expert input first-hand.
The last council meeting took place in the municipality chambers on 27 May 2014.
“We are following the right procedures to ensure transparency. We bring people on board, show them what we are doing and allow them to say what they think. If something is wrong it is dealt with to avoid conflict,” Kambueshe said.
He indicated that the council has an annual calendar for council meetings that is available to members of the public.
“If you are not open people will conclude that you are corrupt. But you can also be open and corrupt. We know if we listen to the people we will plan better services for them. As council we know we cannot satisfy everyone but we try to do everything to the best of our abilities,” the mayor said.
He also criticised the behaviour of staff in management positions that sometimes uses bureaucracy as a shield to withhold valuable information from members of the community and always insisting that they make appointments.
“It is not allowed for us to withhold information. When someone asks me something that I can answer immediately, even if I am busy shopping I will do it right there, no need for me to ask them to make an appointment with my secretary,” he promised.
Kambueshe however expressed his disappointment about the poor attendance at council meetings by community members, saying despite all the efforts from council to inform them, the meetings are not well attended.
“It is disappointing that most community members do not attend council meetings to know what is happening and avoid being misinformed or make wrong judgments,” said the mayor.
He added that the chamber can accommodate over 200 people, but at most, 50 people attend the meetings.
Kambueshe also used the opportunity to encourage youth leaders from political parties in Swakopmund to take a keen interest in the activities of council.
“Young people understand English and if they attend council meetings they are able to explain and pass on the information to older people who cannot speak English or Afrikaans,” he noted.
He also called on the community to attend council meetings instead of posting criticisms on social media.
“People do not come to council meetings, they just wait until something happens and they end up discussing their perceptions on Facebook. You cannot challenge me on Facebook, 90 per cent of the messages on Facebook do not make sense. So for us it is better that we open up and avoid Facebook discussions,” the mayor said.