Keetmanshoop service delivery compromised

29 Jan 2017 15:00pm
By Patience Smith
KEETMANSHOOP, 29 JAN (NAMPA) – Landless residents of Keetmanshoop are the losers in a battle of wills between the Keetmanshoop Council and Keetmanshoop Municipality management after the abrupt halt of land servicing at the town.
The council last year stopped the further development of around 600 erven in residential extensions of three Keetmanshoop suburbs on the grounds that the land is not yet proclaimed.
The council is also investigating Senior Local Economic Development Manager Jegg Christiaan for his alleged corrupt role in the allocation and servicing of these plots.
In a special council meeting last Thursday, the councillors unanimously agreed to seek legal advice to pave the way for Christiaan’s suspension.
Mayor Gaudentia Krohne confirmed to Nampa that Chistiaan would be pursued on suspicions of interference, incompetence, self-enrichment and insolence towards councillors.
Christiaan allegedly impedes the operations of the property department by unilaterally awarding municipal land and fixing land prices.
Two of the three residential extensions of over 200 erven were serviced last year, but lie idle due to the non-proclamation of the land – though this agency understands that proclamation can still be effected.
One is the Smart Community concept, a Finnish-Namibia research initiative meant to create a “safe and healthy” suburb through the creation of parks and other social amenities.
Krohne questioned the awarding and design models of all three extensions and accused the municipality of “throwing money down the drain” by servicing land yet to be proclaimed.
The third extension would have been developed by the municipality through an interest-free loan from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, but this was reportedly stopped by the mayor.
Christiaan recently accused her in a daily newspaper of hijacking the project and single-handedly commissioning a town-planning company owned by an in-law to redesign the area.
Krohne told Nampa the company was not paid for the work and that her interest in the re-design was to deliver more erven through size reductions.
She said this would up the amount of 220 erven to over 400 potential housing and business units.
Christiaan told Nampa he welcomed an investigation.
“They should just not waste the financial resources of the municipality with an ill-led investigation,” he said.
He added that while a probe would exonerate him of any wrongdoing, time would reveal the identities of the “real” corrupt elements.
“The council makes our work environment extremely difficult. It is clear to me that this is a personal witch-hunt and while this is happening, there is zero productivity and service delivery to residents.”
Krohne similarly agreed that services were compromised, but blamed this on the “unwillingness of the municipality’s top management to cooperate” with the council.