Okahandja's municipal workers plan to down tools on Monday

13 Sep 2013 08:00
OKAHANDJA, 13 SEP (NAMPA) - The entire municipal workforce at Okahandja is expected to down tools on Monday to protest a decision taken by the council’s management committee to suspend the town's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Frans Enkali.
The aggrieved municipal workers - clad in their blue overalls - said during a one-hour peaceful demonstration held in front of the Okahandja municipal offices on Friday that they will down tools on Monday if the municipal councillors do not give them satisfactory answers by the end of Friday why Enkali was suspended.
“We are tired and fed-up with the attitudes of the corrupt municipal councillors of Okahandja... If they refuse to talk to us today, there will be no work on Monday next week. Viva, Frans Enkali, viva!” the demonstrating workers shouted.
Meanwhile, no municipal councillors or senior officials of the Okahandja Municipality came out of the municipal buildings to talk to the workers during the demonstration.
The workers themselves were also not well-organised, as they had no petition containing their grievances to hand over to the councillors or officials.
However, according to workers' representatives who asked not to be named as they fear victimisation, a petition with all their grievances will be handed over to the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development and the Okahandja Municipal Council next week during another peaceful demonstration.
Okahandja is situated some 69 kilometres north of Windhoek in the Otjozondjupa Region.
Reports carried by local English daily the Namibian Sun on Friday had it that the CEO of the Okahandja Municipality on Thursday refused to sign a letter of suspension given to him by the council’s management committee members because the committee had been dissolved earlier, and these members are under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
According to newspaper reports, it also emerged on Thursday that the rest of the council was unaware of his suspension.
It is reported that when the suspension letter was handed over, it resulted in a heated discussion between the members of the management committee and Enkali, who has allegedly described the suspension as illegal and demanded to see the charges against him.
He pointed out that the management committee was dissolved after the council adopted a vote of no-confidence in them, and it was therefore not in a position to suspend him.
The chairperson of the management committee, Valerie Aron, and two other management committee members, Andreas Bezuidenhoudt and Samson Mieze, were recently ousted after a vote of no-confidence was tabled by Okahandja mayor David !Uri-#Khob and seconded by Deputy Mayor Paulina Kuyandeka.
The removal of the three councillors followed several allegations against Aron, which included allegedly building a double-storey private house on public land before that property was even rezoned.
There were also allegations that she had received a discount on the price of the property, and that the title deed is being disputed.
Bezuidenhoudt is said to have built Aron's house, while Mieze's extra earnings have raised serious questions.
Both Enkali and Kuyandeka on Thursday told the Namibian Sun that the management committee was under investigation by the ACC.
According to them, an ACC team was at the municipality on Wednesday to investigate the three councillors.
The workers were still sitting in front of the municipal offices at around 11h30 on Friday, waiting for the councillors to address them.