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Battle to topple Irene Simeon-Kurtz off Erongo Red rages on

By: Kelvin Chiringa

The Affirmative Repositioning (AR) Walvis Bay has doubled down on its relentless fight to push for the toppling of Erongo Red board member, Irene Simeon-Kurtz, who has been accused of owing the same company more than N$649 728.45.

The power company has so far shaken off the pressure to have her put through disciplinary action as activists, Knowledge Ipinge and Joseph Kandowa, allege that she has violated the company’s rules and that she in conflict of interest.

Nevertheless, Erongo Red has said that it neither has the power to boot her out of the board based on the accusations against her nor can they disconnect power from her company, Usakos Service Station.

“We confirm that Ms. Simeon-Kurtz is a member of Erongo Red’s board of directors. The shareholders agreement provides for the appointment of directors. Ms Simeon-Kurtz was as such appointed in terms of the said agreement by the Erongo Regional Council (ERC), municipality of Arandis, municipality of Usakos, municipality of Karibib and Uis Village Council jointly.”

“We bring to your attention that the power to appoint and/or remove a director from the board solely vests in the shareholder. As such the correspondences submitted to Erongo Red must be sent to ERC, the appointing authority,” said the power company.

On the question of Kurtz being in conflict of interest, the company said that all of its board directors were clients.

“We further confirm that that Usakos Service Station is a customer of Erongo Red. However, in line with company policy, we cannot disclose further details regarding the customer’s account. In addition, subject to company policy, in the event there is a dispute on a customer’s account, suspension of electricity supply is not permitted until such time the matter has been resolved,” said Erongo Red.

Nevertheless, Kandowa, in his letter to the Usakos mayor, said Simeon-Kurtz was also owing the town council N$700 000 adding that she has “bluntly refused to settle and in the process victimized employees who address the matter”.

“We also have it on record that the pre-paid meter was unlawfully installed for the councillor through the office of the CEO to dodge disconnection of her water, which is a clear contravention of the Local Authorities Act and the Town Council’s policies.”

“It is with the above in mind that we hereby demand that urgent disciplinary action be instituted against Irene Simeon-Kurtz by the Usakos Town Council in line with your Code of Conduct and the Local Authorities Act,” reads the letter.

Kandowa has also demanded the disconnection of all her services with immediate effect until she has made good on her said debt.

“Failure to comply to the above demands and acknowledging receipt of this letter before close of business by Friday the 27th of May 2022 will leave us with no further option but to mobilize the aggrieved residents for protest action and demand for justice,” Kandowa said.

In the meantime, the Usakos mayor, Wilfried Weise, told this publication that they have taken note of the letter of demands and that a meeting will be held next week to deliberate on it.

“You see what is happening, her appointment is now for the third year already. So, which means her appointment was made by the previous council. The new council has been only 17 months in the seat and it will definitely be discussed by the management committee next week,” he said.

Kelvin Chiringa

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