Rehoboth Baster Community

Nepotism claims levelled against Rehoboth Town Council

Published by Feb 04, 2008

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The Rehoboth town council and residents of the Block E settlement are at loggerheads again. 

A group of approximately 60, mostly young people, took to the streets on Friday morning to protest against the way the municipality is running its affairs.

Allegations of favouritism in awarding jobs and nepotism on the part of the town's mayor George Dax featured most prominently during the demonstration in front of the municipality building.

Signs reading 'Did you forget our votes?' and 'Change your attitude towards the community' summed up the feelings expressed by most of the protesters spoken to.

In a petition handed to town CEO Theo Jankowski, residents complained that the municipality allegedly appointed people into permanent positions without any of these jobs being advertised.

"Huge numbers of people have been drawn from the streets, appointed as casuals, and eventually given permanent positions.

Which criteria is (sic) used then? These positions have never been advertised," the petition claims.

According to residents' understanding, said Sylvia Swartz, casual jobs should be rotated among community members.

"But they always use the same people, and after a while you just find out that these people were appointed permanently.

Why don't we get to hear of these job opportunities?" Swartz asked.

They also expressed anger over the fact that the mayor's brother currently holds a contract to run the bucket toilet system used in many of the informal settlement's homes.

The system consists of a bucket for defecation, which is stored outside residents' homes, and which the municipality is then responsible for emptying once a week.

The system was introduced in 2006.

Before this, residents were apparently forced to dig holes in their backyards, build toilets on top of these holes, and let their waste seep into the ground.

Residents say that many of them have boycotted this "primitive" system by refusing to let the contracted company remove their waste, a situation which has resulted in the contractor removing only an average of 10 to 15 buckets a week.

"But yet he still gets all his money every month," Swartz charged.

According to residents, the contract earns the mayor's brother about N$40 000 a month.

Asked to confirm the amount, CEO Jankowski declined.

He said the matter council needed to respond to the issue collectively.

Another complaint listed in the petition was the council's decision to set up prepaid water meters for a six-month test period, but only allowing council members to benefit from this.

They also called for the removal of the current community representatives on the council's tender board, and for them to be replaced with "more accountable delegates".

They have given Friday, February 15, as the proposed deadline for council to meet with the community to discuss their grievances.

Jankowski accepted the petition on behalf of the mayor, who he said was attending to other pressing issues.

Source: Namibian