Rundu Town Council has refuted allegations that it has embezzled funds donated for the development of sports fields in the town. The council called a press conference last Friday, where Mayor Hilka Leevi said: “No single cent meant for sports development was ever embezzled.”
Rumours of the misappropriation of funds have been doing the rounds on social media, as well as on the Kavango radio service of the national broadcaster, NBC, of how funds donated for the development of sports fields at Kaisosi and Kasote went missing.
Leevi confirmed that the town council received a donation of N$95 885 from Nieuwegein Municipality in January 2013 and a further donation of N$68 443 in August 2013 from the same municipality for HIV/AIDS- related activities and development of sports fields.
“The N$66 865.81 was donated to community projects offering support to children affected by the pandemic, such as kindergartens, day care centres and gardening projects, among others, through the council’s Small Grant Fund,” Leevi said.
The mayor said the town council has a mandate to provide basic services, including facilities meant for recreation, with the aim of creating an enabling environment for young people, particularly with regard to encouraging the youth to refrain from undesirable activities.
“As part of its HIV/AIDS activities through our cooperation with Niewegein Municipality, the development of mini sports fields in Kaisosi and Kasote was identified some years ago, after the two local authorities agreed to extend cooperation in the field of HIV/AIDS in 2004. It was through this cooperation that the idea of developing mini sports fields was initiated,” Leevi said.
The areas where the facilities are to be built were identified on the basis that the donors wanted such activities in the informal settlements of the town to encourage young people to participate in healthy recreational activities, so that they refrain from engaging in behaviour that would put them at risk, including exposure to HIV/AIDS.
However, disputes over the land in Kasote and Kaisosi erupted, thus halting the entire project. Those disputes – between the town council and the people who claimed to have occupied the land before the formalisation of Kaisosi and Kasote townships – were about ownership of the land, Leevi added.
Rundu Town Council has now started clearing Erf 1311 as part of the process of constructing a sport complex at Kaisosi. Plans are afoot to create another complex in Kasote. The designs of the sport facilities have been finalised and actual construction will commence once the necessary approvals have been obtained from the council and local tender board.
The sports fields would cater for soccer, netball, volleyball and basketball, and would make provision for a pavilion, changing rooms and ablution facilities.