Concerned Okahandja residents want town councillors removed

23 Jan 2014 10:40am
OKAHANDJA, 23 JAN (NAMPA) – More than 800 people in Okahandja have allegedly signed a petition demanding the removal of all the local authority councillors at the town.
Community activist Belinda Garoes said the residents want the local authority councillors removed as they have allegedly failed to bring development to the town since they were put in power in 2010.
Garoes told Nampa in an interview on Thursday the residents of residential areas such as Five Rand camp, Veddersdal, Oshetu, Saamstaan, Dom Lokasie and Nau-Aib are not happy with the Okahandja town councillors as they have allegedly failed to deliver services to them.
She said the Okahandja residents held a meeting three weeks ago where it was decided that a petition should be drawn up to demand their removal.
The community members plan to hold a march at Okahandja before handing the petition over to the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Charles Namoloh on a date still to be decided on as the petition is still being circulated.
The seven local authority councillors who are being accused of not serving Okahandja residents include mayor Valarie Aron; deputy mayor Niklaas Steenkamp; and the chairperson of the management committee, Simson Mieze.
Aron, Steenkamp and Mieze are serving the Okahandja Town Council on the Swapo-Party ticket.
Another Swapo-Party councillor whom Van Wyk mentioned is Selma Itoolwa, who was elected as ordinary member of the management committee in December last year.
Other town councillors who were mentioned are Andries Bezuidenhout of the United People’s Movement (UPM), Fredrick Shimanda of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Estha Garoes of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).
“They have failed to serve us. Okahandja used to be a garden town now we know it as a garbage town because the councillors have failed to serve the people,” said another disgruntled signatory to the petition, Shalene van Wyk.
Van Wyk said their group is headed by Vincent Kariseb as chairperson.
She said the current elected town councillors must be replaced with community members who have the people’s interests at heart.
Contacted for comment on the matter, Aron said she is aware that there is a group of people in Okahandja who want her out of the town council.
“I heard that rumour and I don’t know whether they want to start their own political party or what,” she said.
Garoes and Van Wyk however denied this, saying members of the group already belong to existing political parties such as UDF, RDP, the Swapo-Party, and DTA of Namibia.
Okahandja Constituency Councillor Steve Biko Booys also said he has heard of a petition doing the rounds amongst residents.
“I can confirm that I have heard of a petition being signed, but I don’t know its content and I haven’t seen it,” he said.
On 20 December 20I3, the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) demolished shacks in Okahandja which were allegedly erected by the same concerned group.
On that day, Garoes was arrested by the police and released on bail of N.dollars 500 for allegedly instigating community members to grab municipal land.
It is alleged that over 2 000 people, including Zimbabwean and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) nationals, erected shacks on municipality land at the Five Rand informal settlement and Oshetu no 2 illegally.
They blamed their actions on town councillors failing to see to it that enough erven are serviced for needy community members.