Keetmanshoop junior councillors claim lack of support

26 Aug 2013 05:10
KEETMANSHOOP, 26 AUG (NAMPA) - The Deputy Junior Mayor of the Keetmanshoop Municipality, Zelda Hakskeen says the junior councillors do not receive the needed support from the municipality to help them carry out their duties effectively.
The junior council is made up of Junior Mayor Nythen Dien, Hakskeen, and junior councillors Anja Becker, Hashaenanye Lazarus, Bernard Chunga, Christiaan de Klerk, Grogerious Ivan Eiman, Andy Esterhuizen, Valencia Garises, Olivia Junias and Nazley Losper.
Speaking to Nampa last week, Hakskeen noted that since their inauguration in November last year, they have essentially been carrying out activities “on their own” without sufficient support from the town council.
“We also have a lot of activities we want to do, but there is no communication and support from the council. When we approach them they just tell us to go back and think about what we want to do and bring the ideas to them. We already have ideas, they must just give us the money and resources,” she noted.
Hakskeen however noted that constant efforts by the junior councillors to speak to the council members has at least so far resulted in the promise of a meeting to be held on a date to be decided on next week.
She claimed that last month when town Mayor Moses Titus was approached to explain why the young councillors receive no support, he apparently told them to plan some activities and bring the ideas to his office.
“Apart from what we are doing ourselves, we want things to be clear on what we should do and how we must do it. When we asked them for the money to attend a Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol summit in South Africa in April, they did not give us money. Instead we were accused of organising activities without their consent,” the Deputy Junior Mayor indicated.
The 11 junior councillors were elected in order to create a platform for young people to interact with council on issues affecting them, and to address issues related to the fighting of youth unemployment, crime and HIV/AIDS.
So far Hakskeen and Dien have participated in, and won, climate change and sustainable development competitions.
Other activities by the junior councillors include delivering motivational speeches at schools, the repainting of the welcome signage at the southern town and putting up suggestion boxes at schools and community centres to obtain residents’ suggestions for the development of Keetmanshoop.
Approached for comment on Thursday, acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hermanus Losper refused to comment on the matter.
Titus could also not be reached for comment, but Strategic Executive for Local Economic Development and Community Services in the town's municipality, Jegg Christiaan said the junior councillors should not feel they are not being supported as that is not the case.
“We just do not want them to carry out activities which are not part of the plan we gave them. They know who to speak to when they need help or to submit their ideas. We even introduced them to the Keetmanshoop Show Society to help organise the event this month,” he noted.
According to him, the activities assigned to the junior councillors include organising donations for food items to give to needy people, the organising of sport days, and raising of funds to help people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as assisting elderly people.
Christiaan also said the N.dollars 50 000 allocated to the junior council by council for their activities is still available, and they just need to make use of it.