Dispute around appointments
Worries about losses at ErongoRED
05 April 2021 | Energy
Swakopmund • Erwin Leuschner
The Swakopmund town council, which is dominated by several opposition parties, continues to set an example.
During the recent council meeting it was decided that the two municipal representatives on the ErongoRED board of directors, must be replaced by other people. The three SWAPO MPs, who are in the minority, were outvoted.
As background to the decision, the draft resolution states that Swakopmund owns 28.49% of the shares in ErongoRED. The town is thus - after Walvis Bay - the second largest shareholder. Based on this, Swakopmund could appoint two people to represent the town on the board of directors. Econia Petrus and Elizabeth Manga have held this position since May 2020. They have now been replaced by Martin Tjipita (alternatively Edwin Tjiriange) and Sam Januarie (alternatively Desmeon Keulder).
Council member Blasius Roaseb (LPM) wanted to ensure that the supervisory board needed a breath of fresh air. “The [new] directors will strengthen ErongoRED’s operations, create added value and reduce the lack of ethical and effective leadership and prudent administration,” he proposed in writing in February.
The SWAPO council members did not agree with this. “We demand that the proposal be withdrawn. We are of the opinion that there is a conflict of interest,” Heinrich Hafeni said.
Erriki Shitana added: “We are deeply concerned. These jobs are politically motivated. We cannot question the integrity of those who are already serving on the board.”
Blasius countered that the appointment of the two new candidates had been discussed in detail by the municipal executive.
“The business environment in the power industry has changed dramatically and we as shareholders are concerned. ErongoRED is currently posting losses of N$1 million per month. A drop in sales also means a drop in the dividends we receive,” he said.
Blasius therefore described the new appointments as a “purely business decision” that was not politically motivated.
“The experience of the current persons is a cause for concern for us,” he concluded.
In view of the differing opinions, the council members were asked to vote. The six members of the opposition parties [LPM, SRA, UDF and IPC] voted unanimously in favour of the new appointments. The three SWAPO members were outvoted.