By: Kelvin Chiringa
The LPM mayor for the municipality of Keetmanshoop was withdrawn by her principals after she allegedly persisted in cutting water for owing residents instead of targeting big corporates in the area.
This has been disclosed by the party’s spokesperson, Eneas Emvula, who said Maree Smit did not hid the party’s instructions and appeared to be in cahoots with the municipal CEO.
The hefty sums of money owed by government agencies and private companies in Keetmans have as of late ached Bernardus Swartbooi who went on record to say that ordinary citizens must not suffer the brunt of water closures.
Swartbooi has said that the Teachers Resource Training Centre (ministry of education) owed N$3.2 million, the University of Namibia N$557 000, the RCC N$529 000, Customs (finance ministry) N$451 000, TransNamib N$377 000, the works ministry N$272 000, veteran affairs N$268 000 and so on.
“Why is Swapo not paying?” he queried.
But Smit last year revealed that ppensioners at owed the municipality about N$6,8 million.
Smit is also on record saying that the pensioners’ debt stood at N$6 794 130,23 by the end of October this year in 2021.
“”Council obtained a list of registered pensioners from the ministry of labour, as well as a list of deceased pensioners from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security that will be used during the verification processes,” Smit is quoted as saying.
Going after ordinary citizens to recover debts owed has thus not gone down well with the LPM leadership that she has had to be kicked out of the position.
Swartbooi is on record stating that Keetmanshoop Town Council owed itself thousands of dollars.
“They have failed to follow party instructions, directives rather, for the council to do the alternative rather than cutting people’s water supply,” said Emvula.
LPM appears to be coming to the rescue of an electorate that sailed it to power, confirming its effective control of the south.
“The municipality has definitely failed to go after the big guns. There is no doubt about it and they have proven beyond any reasonable doubt. The council was put there by the electorate.
“The head of the municipality is fully aware of the debts of the ministry of defense for example which is in the region of N$300 million dollars. This issue has attracted a lot of criticism from activists and then also ordinary residents of Keetmanshoop.
“We understand the debt issue, but that issue is that of a historical debt and it should not be used to measure the effectiveness of the party. So, the instructions to the CEO were very clear that he should work with the administration and come up with a debt consolidation and land resettlement plan.
“That has not been happening. He has been rather trying to find softer targets which are the residents. And most of these are elderly people. That is highly inconsiderate. Some even said there were done paying their arrears yet their water was being cut,” he said.
Asked whether the withdrawn councilor had been playing to the tune of the CEO, Emvula said this has been the case.
He said the directives from the CEO have not been coming from the LPM head office.
But some have expressed that the LPM is interfering in the work of the council, and the party’s action against Smit has been driven by a desire to avoid the wrath of the same electorate their sailed them to power.
Emvula has denied this.
“I will refer you to the Local Authorities Act. Any councilor who exists in an office during his or her time, there is no fallacy in that councilor carrying out the directives of his or her political party,” he said.