Two CEOs at Berseba Village Council

28 Jan 2015 12:48pm
BERSEBA, 27 JAN (NAMPA) – Three of the five councillors serving on the Berseba Village Council recently appointed artisan Ndeuhala Hangala as acting chief executive officer (CEO).
This is while the current administrative head of the beleaguered village authority in the Karas Region is still in office.
DTA councillors Jesaja Hamman, Sara Isaak and Christina Isaaks promoted Hangala into the CEO position – effective from 12 January until 12 April this year – while Thomas Dreyer, who has been CEO for the last 15 years, is still reporting for work at the office every morning.
Dreyer, whose contract of employment came to an end in December last year, remains in office, pending a response from the council on his demand for reinstatement.
He is seeking reinstatement through legal means, citing an error committed by the councillors who mistakenly issued him with a letter citing a discharge clause, instead of the required notice prior to the end of his term.
The actions of the DTA councillors have been opposed strongly by Swapo-Party councillors Salmon Isaaks and Sabina Esterhuizen, who accused the DTA councillors of acting unlawfully in the termination of Dreyer’s contract.
They also accused the DTA councillors of wrongfully appointing Hangala as acting CEO.
“The DTA councillors issued the CEO with a discharge letter, instead of a notice of execution of duties as stipulated by law.
The CEO is now challenging the discharge and while a legal matter is pending, the three councillors appointed an acting CEO, who is not part of the administrative branch of the council from which an acting appointee must be selected”, Esterhuizen told Nampa in an interview at Berseba on Thursday.
The Swapo councillors had previously spoken in favour of renewing Dreyer’s contract, arguing that he was “an experienced son of the soil, with a great understanding of the issues at the village”.
Their motivation was, however, rejected by the DTA councillors who, in turn, accused Dreyer of non-performance.
“If you go and ask people from Berseba, they will tell you that Dreyer is not performing”, Isaak told this reporter in an interview in Keetmanshoop on Friday.
Isaak defended the appointment of Hangala, stating that she (Hangala) had performed extensive administrative duties in acting capacities throughout the council structures.
The feud between the councillors has spilled over to affect the administration of the council, with staff members torn between the two CEOs.
Staff members have complained that they are confused about whom they should regard as the ‘real CEO’, and how to approach work-related matters.
The councillors say they are equally unhappy with the current state of affairs at the council.
“It is disappointing how the oaths which are taken by councillors in the presence of magistrates to protect and uphold the law, are ignored to the detriment of the entire council and the community,” Esterhuizen charged.
Isaak said on her part that the prevailing atmosphere was ‘unhealthy’ for the staff, and expressed hope for a speedy conclusion to the standoff.
“After 15 years at the helm of the council, and for the sake of transparency and fresh developmental ideas, the time for Dreyer has ended”, Isaak noted.
Berseba is situated a few kilometres north-west of Keetmanshoop.