By: Kelvin Chiringa
Faced with the option of dragging housing minister Peya Mushelenga to court over its suspended councilors in Rehoboth, the United People’s Movement has now called for an urgent meeting with him to resolve the matter.
The entire council was last year suspended after Mushelenga complained that his ministry had been pre-occupied in dealing with the state of mismanagement, lack of accountability and poor service delivery of the town council for some years.
Mushelenga confirmed that he had not received a letter from the party yet in light of their request but appeared to be not budging in the face of pressure to reinstate the councilors.
The party has lamented that Rehoboth was being kept hostage due to this suspension and that they had obtained a legal opinion in this regard which advised that procedures were not followed in terms of Section 92 of Act 23 of 1992.
UPM said it wants a “harmonious solution” instead of approaching the courts because doing so “would not be to the benefit of the residents of Rehoboth as they would have to foot the bill as the Rehoboth Town Council would be one of the respondents in a court case”.
This is not the first time UPM is writing to the minister seeking a way out for its councilors.
Responding to questions from The Villager, the minister said UPM can approach the court if it so wants.
“We are monitoring progress in the south. But you see, when you have accountability of an institution, it is an accountability issue, now they are saying they are not the ones with the majority. But the council has a collective responsibility. We want to be satisfied that council is at a certain level where it was before the suspension of the councilors.”
Post-suspension interventions were set in place last year which included face-to-face meetings with the council, detailed investigations into the affairs of the council, and on-the-spot guidance and advice management on identified shortcomings and remedial measures.
Some of these also included a face-to-face meeting attended by former minister, Sophia Shaningwa, and ministry officials on 26 February 2018 for the council to present to the minister proof of any action taken to correct the situation, specifically issues raised in the investigation report.