SPTC councillors clash over Namibia trip


SELEBI-PHIKWE: Councillors in the copper/nickel town have adopted a report on a fact-finding trip to Tsumeb Namibia despite serious concerns over lack of consultation when the trip was undertaken.

One of the concerned councillors Evelyn Kgodungwe said during a special full council meeting yesterday that the Local Economic Development (LED) committee made a decision on its own without convening a special full council meeting to inform them.

“The idea is noble and we cannot refuse to endorse it. The delegation undertook a trip under council yet we were not consulted and do not even know who elected them. They went under Selebi-Phikwe Town Council (SPTC) yet we did not send them,” she said.

She stated that there have been similar trips in the past like the ones in which council sent a delegation to Polokwane, China and Sweden, which were endorsed in a council meeting. She said this time around they were surprised to know about the trip when the delegation had already left.

“We are now told that the delegation has signed a letter of intent at Namibia that we did not know. The powers of a council committee cannot supersede those of the body supervising it,’’ She said.

Some LED committee members also said they were also not aware of the trip. Councillor Kgakgamatso Ramatopi said he is a member of the LED committee but only knew about the trip way after while another committee member, councillor Thabologo Sethuba said there is nowhere in the minutes showing a resolution that the trip be undertaken.

The delegation to Namibia consisted of the LED committee chairperson councillor Dorcas Letlhogelwa, deputy Mayor Molefi Pilane, Town Clerk Poloko Mojalemotho, BCL mines manager, marketing and public relations James Molosankwe, SPEDU projects manager Theodore Seemule, another SPEDU official Kefilwe Leepile, the council’s senior officials Alias Setaelo and Nathania Maphoto.

For his part Mayor Amogelang Mojuta said LED committee has its own jurisdiction and said councillors should acquaint themselves with its terms and references. He said preliminary works of any committee should not necessarily be communicated to the councillors.

“A trip to Namibia was just a preliminary work to the LED committee and they are here to consult, things were done differently in the past because we did not have a LED committee. Therefore, we cannot refer to the past systems for the current issue at hand,” he said.

He also said that the council has endorsed terms of references of its committees therefore the LED committee is within its rights.

The council was adjourned for 10 minutes to give councillors time to reach a conclusion.  Upon their return they requested that the council should accept that there was a mistake, leader of the opposition Molefhe Molatlhegi said even if the committee has powers, the council as the mother body must be aware of its activities so that it can become accountable.

“It sounds like something is fishy if committee members are not aware of the trip,” he said.

However, the Mayor could not bow down to the request and insisted that he couldnot accept that there is any wrongdoing while the council has not committed any. He argued that LED committee has been mandated to among other things build strategic partnerships among local, regional and international institutions.

The committee chairperson also maintained that a correspondence was read at the LED committee and said the trip was an invitation by Botswana High Commissioner to Namibia not a resolution made by council.

“We simply honoured the invitation and all committee members were aware and this report has passed through the committee. The report recommends that the town of Selebi-Phikwe should proceed to enter into a twin arrangement with the town of Tsumeb in the areas of tourism development, urban agriculture development, education and private sector developments.”

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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