Rift at Keetmanshoop Municipality deepens

09 Feb 2017 09:30am
By Patience Smith
KEETMANSHOOP, 09 FEB (NAMPA) – The rift between Keetmanshoop Municipality councillors and senior managers appears to be deepening, with Chief Executive Officer, Desmond Basson refuting information contained in a media statement issued by Mayor Gaudentia Krohne.
Krohne last week released a statement defending her decision to engage private companies in the redesign and servicing of land in the Noordhoek suburb of the town.
She rejected an accusation by Senior Local Economic Development Manager, Jegg Christiaan in stories carried by Nampa and The Namibian newspaper that she hijacked the project and unilaterally engaged the private companies.
Some individuals within the companies in question, Conenpro Consulting Engineers, Harmonic Planning Consultants and Plan Africa Consultants, are allegedly close to the mayor.
Krohne said the decision to appoint Conenpro was taken by the council after a tender issued for engineering designs, documentation and construction supervision of the project.
The land in question previously was to be developed with an interest-free loan of N.dollars 15 million from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF).
The mayor, however, said the council disagreed with the plot design as the erven were too large, measuring 1 300 square metres each, catering for only 200 individual plots.
She said Conenpro proceeded to engage Plan Africa to review the existing land layout “to make the development of the area more economically feasible and environmentally sound”.
Krohne does not mention Harmonic Planning, but Nampa is in possession of a document submitted to the council by the company’s owner, Harold Kisting, proposing a “technical partnership” between the three companies in addition to land surveyors, electrical engineers and a real estate company.
The proposal suggests that the council guarantees to secure financing of N.dollars 57 million dollars, excluding interest and the marketing and sale of the erven.
The erven would also be reduced to 450 square metres each, consisting of land for single houses, flats, businesses and parks, all totalling 367 individual plots.
Krohne said Council would provide the land and secure funds for the project, which will be supervised and managed by the “professional team”.
The mayor said in the statement that the erven would be affordable to residents of Keetmanshoop.
Figures show that development of each 450 square metre erf will cost around N.dollars 158 000, while the initial plots of 1 300 square metres were valued at N.dollars 205 000 each.
The total funds the municipality needed for the previous plan, including the money from the MAWF, is N.dollars 42 million.
This means that per square metre, the smaller plots will cost more to develop than the larger plots.
A municipal insider requesting anonymity commented that if the developers expect the municipality to source the funds, then the authority can go on tender to recruit the most competitive company “and not those prescribed by the mayor”.
On his part, Basson simply distanced himself from the media release, saying he refused to sign it because he does not agree with figures and statements contained therein.
“I also doubt that the other councillors are party to the document. I believe it is a personal statement from the mayor and that is not how things should be done in the local authority,” he told Nampa recently.