|The long march from Kalkrand|
|Written by Edson Haufiku|
|Wednesday, 25 July 2012 21:42|
Having walked more than 200 kilometers to Windhoek from Kalkrand in a solo protest against corrupt practices within the Village Council, community activist, James Hansen received a hero’s welcome by a cheering crowd when he returned to the southern village on Tuesday.Hansen, carrying a wooden cross and donned in a white shirt with the words ‘Only God’s government will remain’ inscribed thereon started marching to the capital last Friday, arriving on Monday with a petition addressed to the Minister of Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (LGHRL) Jerry Ekandjo, urging the latter to take action against Council leaders suspected of corruption and embezzlement.
Adriaan Beukes, a Swapo councilor and head of the Kalkrand management committee is accused of having authorised a transaction in which N$68 000 of council money was paid out to an unregistered company belonging to a former council employee, Martinus Naenkavara. Beukes has also come under fire for suspending former Council CEO, Neville Smith, and replacing the CEO with his business partner Connie Bock.
The appointment of Bock sparked a community demonstration, followed by continuous letters appealing to the LGHRL to intervene. The Ministry reportedly wrote a letter to Beukes, requesting that Bock’s contract be terminated, but that order was however never enforced and Bock continued to serve in that capacity.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Sirkka Ausiku, on Monday met Hansen and accepted his petition on behalf of Minister Ekandjo. Speaking to Informanté on Wednesday, Hansen reported that a two-man investigation team from the LGHRL led by Carel Ndoroma, the deputy director in the Ministry, arrived at the Kalkrand Village Council early on Wednesday.
According to reports emanating from Kalkrand, the arrival of Ndoroma’s team triggered an argument between Beukes and the other two Swapo Councilors on the council committee, Emily Van Staden and Christine Garoes. Beukes and Bock are reported to have fled the council offices and are believed to have driven to Rehoboth.
By the time of going to print, Village Council employees had not yet received their salaries, due to the sudden disappearance of Beukes and Bock, who are required to sign off the workers’ monthly salaries.