Topnaar authority educated to avoid bad publicity

13 Apr 2015 17:00pm
UTUSEB, 13 APR (NAMPA) – The Topnaar Traditional Authority is in the process of reviving its administration in a bid to avoid bad publicity.
It is hoped that educating all councillors about the Traditional Authority Act No 25 of 2000, which guides how the traditional authorities should run their affairs, will help them to avoid such publicity.
Speaking to Nampa on Sunday at Utuseb settlement where this community resides, the authority’s senior councillor for technical advice Ambrosius Swartbooi said, “This is the first step for us to rectify the negativity in order to unite and develop our community”.
The Topnaar community has been accusing their chief, Seth Kooitjie and the entire administration of embezzling community funds.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) launched an investigation into the allegations two years ago after local media carried reports on the matter.
A two-day workshop on the Act, attended by the chief and all members of the traditional authority, took place at Utuseb settlement, some 40 kilometres south of Walvis Bay on Saturday and Sunday.
The Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) of Namibia facilitated the workshop on the request of the Topnaar Traditional Authority.
Swartbooi told this news agency that once the councillors fully understand their roles and responsibilities, they will be able to serve the community more efficiently.
He said since some community members say there have not been enough consultations between themselves and the chief, more feedback on development projects will be provided to the community from now on.
“With this workshop, we want to enhance the capacity of all our new and old councillors. They need to know the laws applicable to traditional authorities before taking on the task,” said the Topnaar technical advisor.
Seventeen new traditional authority councillors for the Topnaar community were elected in March 2014 and sworn in during June the same year.
Swartbooi further explained that the workshop also aims to avoid legal implications that might occur when councillors happen to break the law.
“We are also trying to fully understand the legal side of running community trusts and appointing sub-committee members of such trusts,” he noted.
On his part, the LAC’s paralegal and public outreach officer, Theodor Muduva, added that the workshop also covered the Communal Land Reform Act.
Other topics included traditional authority elections and how to handle crimes.
“We are here to empower them about their roles and responsibilities as far as the law is concerned. There are legal terms that we need to simplify and explain in layman’s terms for them to clearly understand,” said Muduva.
About 20 participants received certificates of attendance at the end of the workshop on Sunday.
The senior councillors are Stoffel Anamab, Lena Kasper, Willem Kooitjie, Theopoltine /Huises, Ambrosius Swartbooi and Johannes /Uirab.
Ordinary councillors are Conzates Dausab, Zebedeus Swartbooi, Herman //Areseb, Justine /Khurisas, Bernard Kooitjie and Manfred Engelbrecht.
Alwina Bamm, Mathilda Kooitjie and Magdalena //Garoes are additional members, while Hendrik /Khurisab and Christle Kooitjie are secretaries.