Mushelenga refuses to reinstate suspended Rehoboth councillors


Urban and rural development minister, Peya Mushelenga is resisting pressure by the United People’s Movement to reinstate its councillors at Rehoboth who had been put on suspension for alleged mismanagement.


The party president, Jan van Wyk wrote to the minister last year in November requesting that the councillors be put back to work given that investigations into suspected irregularities had been finished and recommendations submitted.


The accused councillors are Rev Leonard Pienaar, Emma Farmer, and Maria Pickering. 


Van Wyk said developments of the investigation were disclosed to him in several meetings with an unnamed representative of Mushelenga’s who admitted to not having powers to take action against the suspended officials.


UPM pushed the minister to make public findings of the investigations as well as to inform Rehoboth residents about the action taken against the people involved.


In response to the UPM request Mushelenga said, “I suspended the full council of Rehoboth in terms of Section 92 (2) (a) and (b) of the Local Authorities Act 1992 (Act No. 23 of 1992) as amended and the suspension is and will remain in force until I am satisfied that proper governance and administration which in my view the entire Council including UPM Councillors have failed to exercise, has been restored by the team led by my representative.”


The minister also indicated to this publication that he would not be pushed to reinstate a few councillors ahead of others.


He also indicated that his office has noted an improvement in revenue collection although other issues remain outstanding.


However, UPM is adamant that its councillors were not involved in mismanagement at the town council but that they were merely removed in an attempt by the minister to pave way for the investigation.

UPM wants their reinstatement to be a matter of urgency.


 Van Wyk said that his party has been informed that the reinstatement of councillors was being delayed due to infighting on the side of the ruling party for reasons known to the minister.


“The UPM has given its full support in the past and does not see any reason why its elected leaders should be further subjected to unfair treatment,” he said. 


In a letter to the minister this week, Van Wyk further said UPM councillors had been the ones to report mismanagement at the town council and thus could not be involved in any transgressions.


He also claimed that a ministerial intervention team report had not been availed to the councillors as had been initially indicated and that the party needs a copy of it.