Storm brewing at Keetmanshoop Municipality

05 Oct 2016 14:10pm
By Patience Smith
KEETMANSHOOP, 05 OCT (NAMPA) – Keetmanshoop Mayor Gaudentia Krohne is allegedly engineering a move to oust Keetmanshoop Municipality Chief Executive Officer Desmond Basson and to institute disciplinary charges against other senior staff.
This has come to light in an email Krohne sent a few weeks ago to fellow Swapo-party councillors Gabriel Freyer, Ernst Jash, Justine Louw, Hilia Shatipamba and Swapo’s regional coordinator for //Kharas Matheus Mumbala as well as the now late chairperson of the regional Swapo Think Tank Nicolas Links.
The other two councillors at the Keetmanshoop Council, Charles Pieter (DTA of Namibia) and Hansie Esterhuyse (Rally for Democracy and Progress) are omitted from the email.
In the leaked email titled “Management behaviour and misleading information”, Krohne accuses Basson of disrespecting the council and of ignoring a number of instructions on land and service provision.
“I suggest that we must address this concern again for the second time at the Swapo party office with the District Executive Committee, our regional coordinator and comrade Links,” the mayor wrote.
Links died in a car accident on 27 September. The email was sent on 22 September.
Krohne also accuses the municipality’s Local Economic Development Manager Jegg Christiaan and Finance Manager Quinton Visagie of having a “personal vendetta” against some of the camp lease holders and “treating them inhumanely”.
The mayor’s husband is one of the people leasing camps from the Keetmanshoop Municipality, allegedly for free as a discussion on payment has stalled.
Nampa has learnt from an inside source that the lease holders – also referred to by Krohne and Jash as “99 per cent Swapo” – are refusing to pay the amount proposed by the municipality.
“The mayor is part of these discussions and she is negotiating in bad faith and stalling the process because of her personal involvement in the matter,” the source alleged.
Krohne further wrote that Christiaan, Visagie and Human Resource Manager Andre Blaauw falsely motivated in favour of the Public Service Union of Namibia (PSUN) for staff while “deliberately cancelling” the current recognition status of the Namibia Public Workers’ Union (Napwu) at the municipality.
“They misinformed and misled the council with false information [that Napwu has less membership] than PSUN,” Krohne wrote.
The municipal source alleged that the mayor “was on a mission to recruit members for Napwu, because she formerly worked at the union”.
The source also questioned why the mayor sought to discuss office matters with “outsiders”, in reference to the Swapo-party representatives.
“Do they decide operational matters and the fates of municipality staff with the Swapo party outside the office?” asked the source.
In her email motivating a rezoning of erven to make it cheaper for buyers, Krohne wrote: “We are elected by the electorate to provide affordable housing. We therefore cannot be controlled by administrators who are appointed and not elected.”
Approached for comment on Wednesday, Basson said he heard rumours of his future suspension.
“I was on leave for two weeks. I came back on Monday and heard in the corridors that I will be suspended. I have not received anything concrete yet in terms of charges, so I will wait,” he said.
Basson conceded that the relationship between management and the council was deteriorating.
“It is blurred at this stage. The problem is that the council wants to interfere with administrative matters and that is not conducive,” he said.
Christiaan and Visagie did not respond to phone calls on Wednesday, while Blaauw was said to be on leave.
Krohne declined to comment on the contents of the email, warning the people who leaked it that investigations would follow.
“The email was very confidential and meant only for certain people. It was not meant for the media. There are certain people who hijack the emails of councillors and their right to privacy and these culprits will be brought to book,” she said.
The mayor added that it was her right to confer with her party on development problems.
“I came through the Swapo party with a majority vote into this position. My job is to drive Government policies and to implement the Swapo-party Manifesto and I will continue with my task to bring development and changes to the town,” she stated.