By Risco Lumamezi
Katima Mulilo Town Council Chairperson of the Management Committee ,Mr.John Ntemwa has seriously responded to the request by the Affirmative Repositioning movement’s call to revoke resolution which reduced the amount of a land plot offered to SWAPO Party Executive Director,Mr. Austin Samupwa.
Caprivi Vision caught-up with Mr. Ntemwa to give his version but was told to send set of questions since he was in the self-isolation due to COVID-19 protocols.
CV: We understand that you chaired the meeting held on April 9, 2021 which approved the amendment of the council resolution no: 37/06/2020/7ODCM 2020 which reduced the gazetted land price from N$150 to N$50 per square meter with a purchase offer of N$614, 400 in favour of the SWAPO Party Executive Director Mr. Austin Samupwa, which the Affirmative Repositioning Movement has objected, what can you say about this?
John Ntemwa: Let me first acknowledge and thank you for the interest you have shown in approaching Council to query on its good governance. It is important to note that as much as the media has to monitor the activities of the public entities, it is also our wish as elected office bearers that our people are properly informed through fair reporting and information dissemination. Having said this I wish to respond your inquiries that were send to me via email on 6th of July 2021, as follows:
Before I address this question, I wish to draw your attention to the following:
Section 11 (1) (a) of the Local Authority Act, 23 of 1992 as amended provides that a local authority council shall elect in manner provided in section 12 of the act from amongst its members- in the case of municipal or a town in question, shall in each case be the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the municipal council or town concerned;
Section 26(1) (a) and (b) of the Local Authority Act, 23 of the 1992 as amended, provides that a management committee shall be required – to ensure that the decisions of the local authority council are carried out; and to consider any matter entrusted to the local authority council by virtue of any provisions of the Act or any other law in order to advice the local authority council on such matter;
From the above provisions of the law, I am elected as the Chairperson of the Management Committee and not of Council, therefore, the information provided by your informant that I chaired the Council meeting that approved the amendment of Council Resolution 37/06/2020/7ODCM 2020 is devoid of truth. I however wish to inform you that as a Councillor, I was part and parcel of the collective Council that made decision.
CV: We have noted that according to the Affirmative Repositioning Activist Mr. Rasboom Mwemba during the press conference held recently, he alleged that the council resolution number 37/06/2020/7 ODCM 2020 showed that Mr. Samupwa was given the plot (erven) Erf 15 and proves that in 2016 and 2017 when he started working on the plot Erf 15, he was not given the plot by the Katima Mulilo Town Council rather he used his office as a top SWAPO official in grabbing land , in your view did KMTC justified in 2020 & 2021?
John Ntemwa: The allegations are false, as Mr. Samupwa was shown the plot following his application for land in 2013 and allocated to him in 2013, through Resolution no. 14/10/2013 and he further received a Section 30 (t) approval by the Minister in 2017 prior to him appointed an Executive Director of SWAPO. It’s worth to mention that the first allocation was erroneous, hence, Council Resolution 37/06/2020/7ODCM, was made then Council to correct and amend Council Resolution No. 14/10/2013 taken by Council in 2016. It is therefore inadmissible and defamatory to allege that Mr. Samupwa is a land grabber and yes in our view resolution of council is justified.
CV: Can you give us an overview, why Katima Mulilo Town Council Management Committee approved the amendment held on 9 April 2021?
John Ntemwa: As stated in point no. 1 above, the management committee is in no position to approve an amendment to decision related to land sales, but makes recommendation to a full council for approval. Note should be taken that the management committee consists of three (3) members elected amongst the Councillors in terms of section 22 of the Local Authority Act, 23 of 1992 as amended. The current setup of the Management Committee being, two from the SWAPO party and one from PDM. This committee recommended matter via MC…unopposed to a full council. This means it was not a one-man show.
CV: What was the bone of contention by your Council so far from the previous meetings up to this last hearing, and why some of the Councillors rejected this new amendment?
John Ntemwa: It will be premature for me to answer this question, as your informant did not reveal to you the Councillors that were against the price amendments, as I would not want to be drawn into issues that are presented without facts.
However, just for nothing; when an item of discussion on the agenda ends in contentions and Councillors are deadlocked on it, KMTC Council like any other organisation, such as the National Assembly or National Council, do have legal standing rules that guides its actions in proceeding further to resolve such an issue. Therefore, section 26 & 34 of the Standing rules in connection with convening and holding, and procedure at, meetings of Local Authority Councils and Committees established by Local Authority Councils No.140 of 2015, provides that if a matter of discussion is contention will be put to vote in terms of those provisions.
CV: In your view as a Chairperson of the Katima Mulilo Town Council Management Committee, to this saga as far as the demands from the AR movement is concerned in demanding for KMTC to revise its resolution which gives preferential treatment to Mr. Samupwa in particular as SWAPO ED, rather they want this to be given to all residents of Katima Mulilo. They also demand that Katima Mulilo Council must write-off all outstanding rates and taxes owed by senior citizens, to reduce the costs of plots for all residents and to reduce the outstanding balance of rates and taxes to all residents of Katima Mulilo?
John Ntemwa: Katima Mulilo Town Council is a public entity, that is founded on the principle of justice and is guided by act of parliament (Local Authority Act, 23 of 1992 as amended). This means the Act in Section 88, Makes provision on how the public should address their concerns or issues of mutual interest. Hence, Council cannot be pressured to make decisions through political pressure and people who are looking to divert Council to non-developmental issues.
CV: Your last message you would like to share with the residents of Katima Mulilo?
John Ntemwa: I wish to advice other media fraternity to emulate the Caprivi Vision’s approach to issues of mutual interest. I further wish to call upon our valuable residents to decern individuals that are not having the interest of the public and the institution at heart. I would fail if do not encourage our community to owner their debts to council and wish to commend those customers who have continuously paid off their bills.