Reho Council Blocks Ears to Community Demands

REHOBOTH residents marched to the town council offices on Friday in a second demonstration in less than a month.

The residents said they were demonstrating against alleged corruption revealed in several audit reports by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, among them the damning Adonis IT Solutions report that exposed abuse of funds at the council.

The community also criticised council’s decision to take legal action against Baster Kaptein John McNab, who is accused of illegally parcelling out land using the Rukoro Report as justification. The residents had given council until last week to respond but said they did not get a satisfactory response.

About 100 people, most of them pensioners, joined the march that was conducted under heavy police presence. Police stopped the impatient demonstrators just short of the council’s gates, preventing them from aancing further.

Speaking from a white-bakkie parked in front of the council gates, leader of the demonstration Lukas de Klerk accused the town’s CEO, Theo Jankowski, of “snatching bread from our children’s mouths” and vowed that they will not loosen their grip on the council this time.

“Rehoboth does not belong to Jankowski, it belongs to the people!” De Klerk announced through a mega-phone with supporting cheers and chanting from the crowd.

Jankowski refused to come out to meet the crowd after they summoned him. Instead the mayor, Eva Maasdorp, came out to meet the crowd and was greeted by a hostile reception, fuelled by her refusal to acknowledge McNab as her Kaptein.

“The demands of the community that council stops the legal action against their Kaptein John McNab makes only subjective sense to the effect that they do not speak on behalf of all the inclusive community of Rehoboth. The illegal land grabbing is executed under the guise that it is an inherent right of a certain group of Basters, and on whose behalf , council administers this land,” she told the crowd.

Maasdorp further refuted allegations from United People’s Movement (UPM) that the council was sinking in NamWater debt and that the money being used to sue McNab should be used to settle this debt instead.

“We are not struggling to pay NamWater. We have managed to settle N$3,3 million of the NamWater arrears we inherited from the previous administration and our monthly bills are paid on time,” she said.

The council said that UPM leaders were the ones sinking in debt with outstanding water bills, rates and taxes. The mayor told The Namibian that Capricorn Radio, which is owned by UPM, owes N$70 000 in rates and taxes. She also said that UPM has been using the radio as a platform to slander council and spread hate speech about the authority. “If they are as responsible as they claim, how come they owe the council so much and connect their water illegally?” she asked. Maasdorp said Jankowski’s continued stay in office has been at the request of the council and will last until the appointment of a new CEO. She accused UPM of trying to sabotage the recruitment process which ends in May.

“The council will never allow them that satisfaction, particularly the chaos and ethnic polarisation they are busy creating in the town,” she said.

The chairman of the UPM Youth League, Whilly Hochritt, said that the council should leave their debts out of the issue.

“There is no one in this town who does not owe the council. They have purposely singled us out because we are standing up for the truth and nothing but the truth, so it is nothing but a personal vendetta against UPM and its leaders because they have even disconnected our water as we speak,” said Hochritt. He further said that Capricorn Radio has been using the Kaptein’s premises to operate but the UPM does not own the radio although he admitted they use it as a medium to communicate their frustrations against the council.

Source : The Namibian