UPM accuses council of entrusting incompetent officials with town finances

15 Apr 2019 06:40am
REHOBOTH, 15 APR (NAMPA) – The Rehoboth Town Council entrusted incompetent and corrupt officials with the finances of the town’s residents, causing utility bills to skyrocket, the United People’s Movement (UPM) has said.
In a media release issued on Sunday, UPM vice president Jan van Wyk said the state of affairs at the council is a direct result of “the denial of the Swapo regime that it protects its comrades”.
“The UPM wants to make it clear that the outstanding amounts on the water and electricity bills should not be seen as a failure of residents to pay for services, but rather a direct result of mismanagement and corruption by council officials. The residents of Rehoboth are doing everything possible to do their part,” Van Wyk said.
At a community meeting held last Monday, the council revealed that it owes NamWater N.dollars 20 million, while NamPower is owed N.dollars 99.6 million.
Acting finance manager Hilda Ndongo at the meeting said the community’s outstanding electricity payments to the council stood at N.dollars 21 million as most residents use prepaid electricity meters.
She said the council had an arrangement with NamPower for 70 per cent of the electricity payment to go towards prepaid services and 30 per cent to service the historic debt.
They then paid N.dollars 12 million in January, N.dollars 5.6 million in February and N.dollars 3.5 million in March to NamPower.
UPM further said Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga’s intervention report indicated that employees, including councillors, owed the council more than N.dollars 1 million in unpaid municipal services. The party claimed that these defaulters did not include its own councillors.
UPM demanded that Swapo recall its “incompetent and corrupt” councillors or alternatively, said the minister should dissolve the council so the residents can elect new leaders through a by-election.
“We however believe this will never be considered by the minister as Swapo fears it would not win elections in the town of Rehoboth again,” Van Wyk added.
Mushelenga in March last year suspended all Rehoboth Town Council members for non-compliance of ministerial directives. Other contributing factors were lack of leadership, division or lack of teamwork between councillors, persistent non-adherence and compliance to the provisions of the Act, and the failure of the council to implement corrective measures recommended by the ministry.
Mushelenga then announced an interim council governance structure and appointed Natalia /Goagoses to exercise all powers, duties and functions of the minister.