Lack of City quorum stalls Covid plan

A decisive Windhoek City council meeting was called off on Wednesday due to lack of quorum, leaving a critical Covid-19 intervention to the dogs.

30 July 2021 | Local News

OGONE TLHAGE







WINDHOEK

Windhoek has come to a standstill following heated political fights and the withdrawal of councillors, a situation which led to the cancellation of a monthly council meeting where city leaders were expected to discuss and subsequently approve the use of Ramatex as a Covid-19 facility.

The council meeting, which was scheduled for last night, was called off due the lack of quorum in the management committee after the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) withdrew its four councillors.

The municipality plans to use the main warehouse of Rhino Garments (Ramatex) to establish an emergency care centre.

Councillors were also set to discuss plans for the City to sign a loan agreement with the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) for funds meant to construct an electricity substation.

IPC last week suspended its councillors following the demolition of properties in Windhoek’s Tobias Hainyeko constituency. Party leader Panduleni Itula said his councillors “erred in their judgement to have admitted responsibility in apologising for an act whose impact they have failed to assess, amidst Covid-19”.

IPC holds the majority on the five-person management committee. There must be at least three members present for the committee to have a quorum and subsequently legitimise a council meeting.

The IPC councillors’ suspension only lapses today. IPC national general-secretary Christine Aochamus said while her party’s councillors had been restricted, they were expected back in the City’s chambers after today.

Asked to comment on the controversial coalition agreement that is still not signed, Aochamus said an announcement would be formally made by the City’s coalition partners once an agreement had been signed.

“As soon as they have reached an agreement, we will make an announcement on the way forward,” she said.

Misconception

Meanwhile, despite being accused of taking a back seat in council affairs after losing its long-held dominance in the country’s biggest municipality, Swapo said it continues to serve the Windhoek residents, regardless of its absence from public spats between coalition partners.

Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa yesterday said council members are not under any limitations to participate in council affairs, despite not being part of the coalition.

“They know what is to be done. Why should they be instructed?” she asked.

Swapo council member Austin Kwenani said the notion that his party members were sitting back in council activities was a misconception.

“We are one council, we are actively involved. We are working as a team who conforms to the law. That perception that we do not contribute, I don’t know where it comes from,” he said.

Swapo, he added, is willing to support the coalition.

“They [IPC, Affirmative Repositioning, NUDO, Popular Democratic Movement] went into positions. We are willing to support them 100%. Ours is service delivery. We hope they can finish their agreements.”

According to Kwenani, there had been instances where Swapo councillors were involved in the coalition’s activities.

He, however, admitted that the work of council depended on the work of the management committee.

“Structurally, the management committee is supposed to do the work. We cannot do anything, it goes through the management committee,” he said.

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