Councils must open the books

Open Letter to the Minister of Urban and Rural Development

Dear Minister Peya Mushelenga,


THE Local- and Regional Authority Acts from 1992 stipulate in Article 13, respectively Article 16 that the councils have to furnish copies of the minutes from regular council meetings at the request to any person for an amount determined by the Council. [Prices were never announced or gazetted].

The [former] ministry of regional local government and housing and the Ministry or Urban and Rural Development denied civil society for 27 years the right to get copies of the minutes. In all my requests during the years to you, your ministry, the regional and town councils denied me my lawful rights.

The easy explanation therefore I found was when the chairperson of the Grootfontein Town Council told me with a smile, that I never will get copies of the minutes, because they are not good for the public.

The minutes of council meetings do normally contain, among others, the resolutions of the councils, like for instance how many councillors and staff travel for how long to which event around Namibia.

No community member is apparently supposed to know why four staff members are at the moment for ten days to a “workshop” [or to the Show?] in Windhoek, or why five town councillors attended a traditional event in Outapi for three days.

Dear and honourable Minister Mushelenga, the signed minutes of council meetings are public documents. I do request that MURD and the MICT to bring the signed minutes onto the websites on a regular basis.

Thank you for your attention,

Kind regards,

Uwe Rathmann


4 October 2019