By Marshallino Beukes
The Rehoboth Abattoir is currently under construction and farmers and meat producers of the area are facing much difficulties as there is no other abattoir in their immediate vicinity.
Those affected by this scenario are now forced to transport their slaughter animals to abattoirs as far as Windhoek and Mariental, which involves sky-high costs.
The health department of the Rehoboth Town Council applies the Local Government Act very strictly against those who might dare to slaughter animals at an “illegal” place, with meat being confiscated and at least in one case a person was arrested. He was later released as the law makes no provision for a charge against him.
This action by the Town Council has had the affected parties calling for an urgent meeting with the town’s Chief Executive officer Simeon Kanime.
The chairman of the Rehoboth Farmers’ Association Rudi van Wyk, indicated that he contacted Kanime via email early last week Wednesday, in order to call for an urgent meeting in this regard. By last Friday, there was apparently no response to his request and Van Wyk, together with Leonard (Lennie) Pienaar, decided to personally go to the CEO, as the situation is considered very serious.
According to Van Wyk, Kanime was in no way accommodating and summarily rejected a meeting with the group.
Kanime emphasized that the Rehoboth Abattoir did not meet certain standards and that is why the Town Council halted their business.
Van Wyk mentioned that he wanted to know why the Rehoboth Town Council does not have their own slaughterhouse, as it is an essential service that the local authority must provide.
Additionally, Kanime was also confronted with the fact that decisions taken by him directly affect the town and community. Community members who The Patriot spoke to lamented about the negative impact on the town’s economy, but this meeting “ was in vain”, says Van Wyk.
According to insiders present during the meeting, Van Wyk brought up the sky-high inspection rates at the Rehoboth abattoir set up by the Rehoboth Town Council without following procedures.
Kanime reportedly accused him of being “used to interfering with town council matters.” After leaving his office for a long time, Kanime returned later asking them what they want.
According to Van Wyk, the CEO replied that he was not interested in any meetings and advised them to set up a meeting with the mayor. On Friday, a letter mentioning all the details of this visit was sent by Van Wyk to among others to the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, his deputy, the Hardap governor and also regional councilors.
Meanwhile, the Bahnhof Abattoir, situated about 15 km east of the town, has been standing like a white elephant for two years after the Rehoboth Village Council withheld approval for its operation. During a visit to the abattoir, it was clear that it met all the basic standards of an abattoir.
Approval for operating this abattoir was rejected after the owner (deceased) apparently erected the premises without registering with the local authority in advance.
The owner died of a heart attack a day after his business was rejected.
According to the caretaker of the Bahnhof Abattoir, Hans Fritz, 65, this abattoir has the ability to contribute vastly to the economic upliftment of the small community.
According to Fritz, youth unemployment is a big headache and the abattoir can provide job opportunities. He also indicated that people come to the abattoir “from time to time” to slaughter their animals and unemployed youths give a hand in exchange for a few dollars and / or something for the pot. The abattoir also has its own borehole which supplies water to a large part of the Bahnhof community.
Interviews with some of the locals also made it clear that this abattoir could be crucial to the economic upliftment of Bahnhof, and indirectly the town of Rehoboth.