Presidential advisor on youth and enterprise development, Daisry Mathias, says she acted within her official capacity when she wrote to the City of Windhoek seeking answers on why it has taken the municipality so long to decide on selling two portions of Farm Ongos to Ongus Valley Development.
Her letter to acting CEO of the City of Windhoek Fillemon Hambuda was seemingly leaked and became an instant social media hit, with the public questioning why State House was intervening in private business applications.
Social media was abuzz with questions about why State House was seeking answers on behalf of individual developers – and whether this action was not putting undue pressure on the City of Windhoek.
Others pointed to President Hage Geingob’s remarks, made on March 21 this year, when he said State House would not be an avenue to discuss private business matters.
The president, in his Independence Day address, said: “I want to inform all domestic and international investors that the presidency will always welcome courtesy visits, but the tendency to seek appointments for the discussion of business plans and tenders is not welcome.”
“No meetings will be entertained in this regard and my advice is that those requiring guidance seek the counsel of line ministers or technocrats. This is to encourage the process of a multi-layered decision-making process, which encourages transparency and discourages favouritism, secrets and name-dropping,” Geingob said.
In her letter, dated 23 June 2016 and bearing the letterhead of the presidency, Mathias asked why the City was taking so long to decide on Ongus Valley Development’s application – especially in light of the housing need in the country.
“Considering the magnitude of the national housing backlog and the Harambee Prosperity Plan goal on residential land and housing, it is our consideration that the proposed developments on Farm Ongos No. 38 will reduce the housing backlog and demand for serviced land in Windhoek, and by so doing contribute tremendously to government’s plans for land and housing provision,” Mathias wrote.
Yesterday Mathias confirmed authoring the letter, but strongly defended her conduct. She said every citizen has the right to approach the presidency with questions and that the presidency has the obligation to attend to such queries.
“I have declared my interests to the president, and I have no personal interest in this company. There are processes in dealing with issues of the presidency. There are avenues in which citizens themselves write to the president with their grievances,” Mathias explained.
“Sometimes there is an escalation of these requests and there are those that the president deals with himself.”
She stressed that some staff within the presidency get involved in finding solutions to some of the concerns and grievances raised by citizens with the president’s office.
“I am the youth advisor and I interface with the youth but I am also the presidential advisor and I too interface with enterprises. And that is why I wrote to the City of Windhoek to enquire about this specific grievance raised by the people.”
She continued: “Before any action it is important to get the information to help you better advise the president for solutions to the problems raised. I acted within my line of duty.”
Mathias maintained that the information requested was necessary to determine the legitimacy of cases before briefing the president.
Mathias requested the City of Windhoek to furnish her office with reasons for the delay in the approval and the status of layout planning for the application.