Municipal Affairs Need More Public Involvement

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK The Mayor of Walvis Bay on Tuesday seriously encouraged greater public participation in the administrative affairs of local authorities. Mayor King Mandume Muatunga, now serving his third term, was addressing the council and representatives of the city council of Kristians in Norway with whom he signed a twinning agreement. “I want to throw my weight around certain expectations and approaches guaranteed to enhance public participation and involvement in the affairs and decisions of Council. Several general observations have indicated that there is a need to enhance public participation in the affairs of Council and the administration of the municipality. As a public institution subscribing to principles of good governance and transparency while simultaneously giving life to constitutional provisions of equality and democracy, we hold a strong belief that we exist purely by public consent and that it is indeed the same public we need to keep in mind when drafting policy frameworks regulating their conduct,” the mayor said. According to the first citizen of Walvis Bay, public participation should be increased, widened and extended to the elderly, the youth, the disabled, the unemployed, the entrepreneur as well as tourists. “In doing so we will remain focused on what we as the City Council can do to improving service delivery and other essential requirements. Avenues such as Ordinary Council Meetings, public and other consultative avenues have been created to provide updates by means of consultations with the public. “Council and I have decided that the year 2006 shall be dedicated to creating and building lasting bridges between all sectors of society, in order for them to realize the important role they can play in the City’s developmental objectives,” the mayor emphasized. In his opinion, Council shall remain receptive to new ideas and advice aimed at improving the living conditions of the harbor town’s residents, and creating employment or establishing Walvis Bay as the preferred city of choice in terms of tourism, business or trade. “I want to inform this august house that the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development has subsequent to a Cabinet decision appointed under my Chairmanship, a Local Authorities Reform Committee (LARC) to look at ways to reform the Local Authorities Act, 23 of 1992 as amended, and other legislations with a bearing on local authority governance. “This committee comprises of several persons with legal, political, technical and other expertise in local governance and reform. It is expected to finalize its report in four months and be handed to Cabinet thereafter,” the mayor said. Stakeholders in the Local Authorities Reform Committee are the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN), the Namibian Association of Local Authorities Officials (NALAO) the Namibia National Mayors’ Forum (NNMF), all Municipalities, Towns and Villages, Regional Councils and the Regional Electricity Distributors (REDs). The mayor also paid tribute to the following workers with long service in the Municipality: J.C.F Grobler, Josef Epafras, Jacob De Jager, Mwefeni Shihula, Frans Fanie, Hirundaka Haita,Vaino Hakweny, Matheus Andreas, C. J. Visser, Rachelle Duck, Johannes Andreki and Philipus Nghilifilwa.