26 September 2018

Namibia: Tses Water Rationing Over Debt Continues

Water rationing at the Tses Village Council over an outstanding N$7,6 million NamWater debt has been ongoing for the past five months.

The council's chief executive officer Fritz Christiaan confirmed this on the sidelines of a visit to the council by National Council Chairperson Margaret Mensah-Williams yesterday as part of her outreach programme to the village.

At a meeting the parliamentarian had with the local council, it transpired that NamWater had reduced water supply to the village, resulting in residents receiving water for only one hour a day in the morning.

The council's top administrator admitted that the local authority had not paid the bulk water supplier for the past months because of financial constraints.

"No payments have been made to the NamWater account, simply because there is no money," Christiaan said candidly.

He revealed that the council also owes NamPower N$2,6 million in electricity bills.

According to him, the council had used N$400 000 of the N$900 000 annual subsidy it receives from the government to pay the electricity bulk supplier to avert a power blackout at the village.

"At least, electricity brings life to the village. Therefore, we have opted to settle part of the outstanding electricity bill to avoid power supply disconnection to the village," he stated.

The council told the National Council Chairperson that they plan to upgrade two boreholes at the town to source water for the village in a bid to address the current water crisis. Mensah-Williams said in response that the water rations are "quite challenging".

Shocked by news that residents at Soutput location were still using the bush because of an incomplete sewer line project implemented in 2010, the chairperson said this was unacceptable.

"It (bush toilet) is undignified. It is inhuman for people not to have access to sanitation," she stressed.

Meanwhile, residents raised a host of concerns, amongst them unemployment, water rationing, and poor service delivery at the meeting with Mensah-Williams yesterday.

"Jobs here have been given to 'struggle kids' while locals are jobless," a young man said angrily, claiming to have been unemployed for the past 10 years.

Reacting to local jobs being given to 'struggle kids' while locals are unemployed, Mensah-Williams remarked: "it is not right to only cater for 'struggle kids'," while other children also suffered inside the country during the liberation struggle.

"It is wrong to leave people out, but people do this with good intentions with bad implications," she said.

Mensah-Williams pledged to table a report containing residents' concerns in the National Council, while urging them to call politicians to account if they fail to give feedback when she responded to a question whether it was worth complaining to parliamentarians.

- luqman@namibian.com.na

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