New Era Newspaper Namibia

Keetmans councillor resigns over job row

Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop-Keetmanshoop municipality councillor Justine Louw has resigned effective last Friday after fellow councillors made a fuss after she placed an application for another position with the council.

Speaking to New Era, Louw confirmed she decided to resign after other councillors complained that she submitted an application at the council for the post of local economic development officer.

In a missive addressed to the Swapo party district executive, of which New Era has seen a copy of, Louw makes it clear that her resignation is due to the fact that her application has allegedly brought the council into disrepute despite her seeking advice on that matter before she applied.

Louw indicated that she had spoken to her fellow council members of her interest in the post of local economic development officer, to seek advice on whether she needed to resign as a councillor before she could apply, but she was not advised to do so.

She said after she had been shortlisted for an interview, her fellow councillors started to make noise about it, saying she had brought the council into disrepute, a claim she says she cannot comprehend as no one raised this when she had made consultations.

“I even discussed the matter with the regional coordinator before submitting my application and I am dumbfounded about reports of disrepute my application has brought to council,” reads the letter.
Louw said due to the circumstances, she had no other choice but to withdraw her application for the job and also resign as councillor.

“In the context of the above I have withdrawn my application, and subsequent to the above and personal convictions, I regret to advise the district executive that I have come to a very difficult conclusion to respectfully resign as councillor with immediate effect,” she said in the letter.

Contacted for comment Keetmanshoop Mayor Gaudentia Kröhne said she could not comment fully as she was not officially informed of Louw’s resignation, nor was she aware that she had applied for a job at the municipality, saying Louw had never informed the council of her intentions officially, but only jokingly mentioned it in a council meeting.

“I really do not know, one day in a joke she said she will apply but she never told us that she will apply for the position so I do not know whether she applied or not, or whether she resigned or not,” said Kröhne.
The mayor further said that as far as she is concerned there is no rule that forbids councillors from applying, and thus Louw pointing fingers at the other councillors is just allegations.

“If she wishes to apply we cannot stand in her way, we are not part of the interview panel and we stick to the recommendations of the interview. I am not aware of any restrictions, I’m not aware of any rule that says she cannot apply,” explained the mayor.

Louw was a local councillor on a Swapo ticket as of 2015 and served on the Keetmanshoop municipality management committee.