Baster community meeting derails

The traditional leadership of the Rehoboth Baster community is a shambles.

13 March 2018 | Cultural


A meeting in which the ‘Red Rehoboth Basters’ (Save Rehoboth Basters) committee adopted a motion of no confidence in acting Kaptein Martin Dentlinger ended in chaos when community leaders demanded answers on the alleged theft of the United People’s Movement (UPM) party funds.

Dentlinger was installed as the interim traditional chief by the ailing former Kaptein John McNab earlier this year.

Dentlinger’s reign has, however, been received with much consternation and prompted a group of concerned community members to establish the committee to ‘save’ the Baster community.

The aim is to bring an end to Dentlinger’s tenure by organising an election that would install a new Kaptein.

During Sunday’s meeting, the majority voted for the election but Johannes T. van Wyk questioned the credentials of some committee members who were implicated in the theft, while another community member requested that UPM member of parliament Jan van Wyk be removed.

The removal of Lukas de Klerk, a senior member of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) was also demanded. This request was ignored.

Meanwhile, a committee member stormed the podium and forcefully removed the microphone from Johannes T. van Wyk, who had asked for an explanation for the missing UPM party funds.

The UPM was established by the Rehoboth community to agitate for their rights on a national level.

“Corruption was the order of the day… a few hundred thousand dollars have disappeared. What happened to the N$137 000 for plots? And why did the UPM leadership not take action?” he asked.

He also accused the party’s leadership - which is directly linked to the office of the Kaptein - of continuing to collect money from community members, promising to secure them land.

This is despite a High Court ruling that the Kaptein does not have the authority to survey, partition and allocate plots of land under the control of the Rehoboth town council.

During an interview with Namibian Sun, Dentlinger said Jan van Wyk was in possession of the money but added, it was not accounted for.

“He signed an affidavit that he did have the money and that he will pay it back.”

Dentlinger added that it is not the mandate of the committee to choose a Kaptein. These decisions, he noted, are left to him and a select committee.

“What they do will be illegal. They do not have a say. All of these things happening are not for public consumption and will cause irrevocable damage,” said Dentlinger.

Meanwhile Jan van Wyk said these events are to tarnish his name and that Dentlinger is not being honest, but emphasised that he will not “stoop to their level”.

According to him the UPM offices were broken into and receipts were stolen, and as a result, implicated him.

“The acknowledgment I signed is not an admission of guilt. Figures were changed… first it was N$6 000 missing, and then N$8 000, and then N$50 000. If I am guilty then they must open a case at the police and I will fight this in court,” he said.

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