Keetmanshoop-After a heavy rainstorm ripped through the small village of Berseba in February, causing extensive damage to houses, many have tried to assist the affected members – mainly with materials to rebuild their homes.
With donations coming in from various companies, Berseba Village Council was entrusted with ensuring everyone affected is catered for and gets the necessary help, but six months down the line, the affected residents are accusing the council of unfair distribution of building materials.
In a letter addressed to the council’s chairperson, concerned residents accused the CEO, Dawid Vries, of giving building materials to a certain Moses Cohlman, who they say is his father-in-law.
The concerned residents further accused the council of giving Jesaja Haman extra building materials to build a structure better than the one that was there before the rainstorm and questioned whether the assistance to Haman was favouritism, as he is a former chairperson of the council.
The building materials given to both men include corrugated iron sheets and iron bars, and the concerned residents in the letter indicated that both men were favoured and got more building materials than those in need to build structures that were not there before the storm.
“This is totally not fair. The people that really need building materials are not given enough and are told to buy extra, but those that do not need it that much are given. This is pure favouritism,” said the vice-chairperson of the disaster-affected group, Thomas Goliath.
The affected members said such an act by the councillors and the CEO is tantamount to corruption, as they are using their official positions to advance personal and family interests.
Contacted for comment, Vries said the council was helping all residents affected by the storm and that the council was doing very well and everyone affected received the necessary help so far. On accusations that he and the council gave more building materials to two individuals than they needed, because of their relationship with him and the council, he admitted he is a son-in-law of one of the men, but said the allocation of building materials was done on merit.
“I do not know what the problem is, we never gave them materials to build structures that were never there before, and it is not me that decided who to give these materials to, this is done according to council resolutions,” he said.
He added that as far as he was concerned the council had done its best to assist the residents, and only 13 people, who had their houses totally destroyed, will be assisted with the building of new houses by the Office of the Prime Minister. Construction he said is exp ected to start soon, he said.