20 April 2018

Namibia: Residents Reject Prepaid Water Meters

Hundreds of Katima Mulilo residents held a peaceful demonstration yesterday, rejecting the prepaid water meters which the town council has started to install here.

The town council recently entered a public-private partnership agreement with ABC Investments to supply and install prepaid water meters to residences in the entire town.

During the commissioning of the prepaid water meters recently, town mayor Mwiya Simataa said the project would allow increased revenue and fair water charges, while also reducing customer complaints and ensuring compliance with payments.

However, during yesterday's demonstration, the residents rejected the prepaid water meters, and said council did not consult them before embarking on the installation of the new water meters. "The Katima Mulilo town council has failed to consult us on developmental issues such as the prepaid water meters, the increment of firefighting fees, as well as rates and taxes. We are tired of suffering like this while we have rights, and this must come to an end.

"Our local authority councillors have failed us because they have lost sight and vision for our town. Therefore, we simply reject these pre-paid water meters.

"We are paying the council for many services, such as refuse removal, which they are not providing. On top of that, they want us to pay for prepaid meters. That is not fair on us," charged Fabian Sampaya, who read the petition on behalf of the demonstrators.

He furthermore expressed disappointment over the fact that the tender for the pre-paid water meters was given to a Chinese company, and that they must pay N$2 500 for installation, which made them more determined to reject the new gadgets.

"Our town has been captured by ABC Investments. Most of the tenders around town are given to them. A very recent example is the repainting of the Ngweze community hall. "That is a very easy job that could have been given to anyone locally. We urge the Anti-Corruption Commission to look into ABC Investment, and how they are getting tenders from the council," he stated. The group handed over their petition to the chief executive officer of the Katima Mulilo town council, Raphael Liswaniso, and also to the governor's office, where special adviser Ignatius Nkunda received it. They both promised to take up the matter with the relevant authorities.

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