By Marshallino Beukes
“Nero fiddled, while Rome burned.”
This seems to be the case at the Rehoboth Town Council, as it appears that burning issues, concerning the town and its residents are not being dealt with, neither is any information shared with the media and subsequently the residents at large.
The Patriot sent an email, containing several questions to the recently appointed CEO of the town, Mr Simeon Kanime more than one month ago (25 September 2019) after he requested for any questions by the media to be put in writing.
To this day no response from the CEO was received.
The Public Relations Officer at the Rehoboth Town Council, Ms Desire Theunissen, confirmed receipt of the email on 27 September 2019 and in her email noted that “the questions will be processed to the relevant Departments, will revert back as soon as response is ready.”
Since then Ms Theunissen went mum, not responding to further emails. An email sent to her (and Kanime) once again this week could not be delivered as per a message created automatically by mail delivery software, reading “Mailbox is full / Blocks limit exceeded / Inode limit exceeded: retry timeout exceeded.”
Some of the burning issues, which were brought under the attention of this publication by concerned residents, were an inquiry about the Chinese owned gold mine, commonly known as Swartmodder mine, situated a few kilometers south of Rehoboth, which is allegedly in arrears of around N$5 million for unpaid electricity bills.
This publication enquired as to what actions have been taken in this instance, as the mine is still operational.
It also came to The Patriot’s attention that, as per a Council decision, they (the mine) are supposed to pay a rental fee of N$35 000 per month, which is apparently not the case. Kanime was asked if this agreement was being honored or not.
He was further requested to give feedback on the current status between the Rehoboth Town Council, Namwater and Nampower – specifically how much money the town is in arrears to these two institutions.
According to our sources in Rehoboth, a forensic audit was requested by a Concerned Group in the town about three months ago, regarding the historical Nampower debt.
Kanime was asked to comment on this issue as the audit report was allegedly never done or provided to residents.
Another question, the Chief Executive Officer was requested to respond to is resident’s discontent with the contracting of a middleman regarding electricity distribution at the town.
According to information available to this publication, SORED is poised to take over this service at the town, while the majority of residents apparently are in favor of the Council remaining in control of electricity distribution.
“What is the current situation regarding (the now also historical) Rukoro erven, as some residents already received symbolic keys to erven during August last year and until now nothing has been realissed, with the five supposed beneficiaries still waiting for their promised erven?” Kanime was also asked.
Another serious issue is the allocation of plots and erven, where Council employees are involved, and this was also brought under his attention for comment.
According to law, residents who already own erven are not entitled to another erf, but this seems not to be the case at Rehoboth, with accusations that some Council employees own up to two or three erven and plots.
Finally, the CEO was requested to inform this publication regarding the current status of Reho Spa, a formerly renowned tourism attraction at the town, which is currently not being utilised.
Meanwhile the Minister of Urban and Rural Development’s representative, Ms Natalia Goagoses, handed back the town to the “old” Town Council, which was initially suspended entirely by the minister during March last year, following allegations of mismanagement, poor service delivery and lack of accountability in the town council as well as the inability of the council to implement directives from the ministry. Mayor Christina Hummel and her team resumed their duties this week.
The Patriot sent questions via email to Theunissen in this regard, requesting to know the reasons for the suspended councilors re-appointment and if the town’s residents were engaged in the making of this decision.
The email was sent two weeks ago, after this publication was unofficially informed about these new developments and to date, the Rehoboth Public Relations Officer is mute.
Emails to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development in this regard could not be delivered, because “the address couldn’t be found.”