11 July 2013

Namibia: Pupils Stranded Due to Delayed Water Pipe Repairs

ABOUT 76 pupils at Windhoek's Delta Secondary School had to seek accommodation elsewhere last week after a lack of water supply at their hostel.The water was cut off as a result of a reportedly delayed decision by the Ministry of Works and Transport to fix the pipes earlier in the year.

A company assigned Thursday by the ministry cut off the water supply in order to fix the main pipe which supplies water to the entire school.

The hostel dwellers were informed at the last minute to evacuate the premises and that the repairs would be concluded by Sunday. The repairs were delayed as a result of lack of materials and the company had to continue working until yesterday.

Sources who observed the incident said pupils had to make arrangements with friends for accommodation until the repair process comes through.

A concerned parent told The Namibian on Monday that they were not informed early enough. "I'm in Ondangwa, how am I supposed to help my daughter?"

The daughter allegedly had to stay at strangers' houses who demanded N$400 for her stay.

"This is unprofessional of the ministry," added a concerned parent.

According to a source, the ministry was informed about the old pipes last year October but since then no action had been taken. The boiler had been problematic since last year, but the ministry also allegedly took its time to address the matter.

The ministry's hostels officer, Unongo Tjozongoro, could not confirm whether he had received urgent requests from the school.

One of the senior members at the school said it had been difficult to inform parents especially on such short notice. "I personally made the effort to ensure each of them were safe and fortunately they all had places to stay," said a source.

"What delayed the repair was the lack of materials as the companies with the right materials could not be reached over the weekend," confirmed Jona Nakashona, operations manager of Penge Building Renovation Company who does the renovations at the hostel.

Nakashona said it took them a while to identify the main source of the damage, as the water pipes in the boys' bathrooms were seeping through the walls and in front of the geyser were traces of leakage.

The main water supply pipe will be fixed soon and the students can move back tommorow said one of the workers from Penge.

The workers said they had to drain pools of water near the boiler.

Harold Tjahikika, senior education planner at the Ministry of Works and Transport, had inspected the damaged geyser two weeks before he reportedly assigned the Penge company to fix the damage.

Tjahikika could not be reached for comment.

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