KEETMANSHOOP – Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga has given the //Kharas Regional Council seven days to reverse its decision to appoint Deputy Director of Finance, Bennie Diergaardt as acting Chief Regional Officer (CRO).
Diergaardt was appointed as acting CRO as of June 1, as the council overlooked the most senior person at the council, Finance and Administration Director Elizabeth Coetzee, who is also Diergaardt immediate supervisor.
New Era understands after the resignation of Augustinus Ucham, the human resource department advised council to appoint Coetzee to avoid any complications, but council ignored this advice.
But Mushelenga has now given the council seven days to reverse its decision, saying it is improper for council to appoint a deputy director as acting CRO, while there is a senior manager at the council.
“The decision of the council is not only out of line with good governance principles, but will create a serious anomaly, which in all likelihood will give rise to conflicts among staff and the work of the council and service delivery to the populate will suffer greatly,” he explained.
In the letter dated June 13, Mushelenga further said he is not convinced with the council’s reasons not to appoint Coetzee.
He said should council have any grounds not to choose her as acting CRO, administrative justice requires that council could have taken action or proven its case, if any against the director as per disciplinary procedures.
Mushelenga added that he has not been provided with such reasons in support of the council’s decision.
“I therefore state that I am not in agreement with the decision and direct regional council to reverse the said decision, my directive must be complied with. The council is directed to reverse its decision within seven days from the date of this letter,” he said in a letter.
During a special council meeting on May 30, council took a resolution not to appoint Coetzee for apparently causing a delay in the Oranjemund School tender and for landing council under investigation on an unaccounted amount of N$ 77 million, by letting out such information of financial misuse.
Contacted for comment, the //Kharas Regional Council chairperson Jan Scholtz could not give comment on the matter, saying he has not seen the minister’s letter as he was booked off from work last week.
“I was booked off last week, and I have not yet seen such a letter, maybe you should call the management committee, because I cannot comment on something I am not aware of,” he said.