Namibia: Rundu Begs for N$20m Bailout

The struggling Rundu Town Council has asked the urban and rural development ministry for N$20 million to pay for their water and operational expenses.

This was confirmed by Rundu mayor Verna Sinimbo yesterday.

She told The Namibian that the council wrote two letters this week to the ministry, urging urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga to bail them out of the difficult situation they are in right now.

"This money will be spent on water and other operational issues," Sinimbo said.

She could not explain the 'other operational issues', and referred The Namibian to Rundu's acting chief executive officer, Sikongo Haihambo, for further questions. The Namibian reported yesterday that several Rundu business people and residents flocked to the Okavango River to fetch water using containers after the council failed to buy more units.

Haihambo told The Namibian earlier this week that the town owes NamWater more than N$60 million, and there has not been any water supply at the town since Saturday.

"We do not have an adequate amount of money to buy a sizeable amount of water to see us through over a long period of time," he said, adding that the only solution is to collect money from the residents.

The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development's permanent secretary Nghidinua Daniel was unable to comment on this issue although various attempts were made to get in touch with him.

During a press conference in Windhoek yesterday, Affirmative Repositioning movement coordinator in the Kavango region Chris Sindendere said they were disturbed by the manner in which the town council was handling the water predicament since residents have been complaining about this matter for the past few months.

"We have not flushed our toilets since Saturday, 27 October 2018," Sindendere, who is a resident of Rundu, lamented.

He added that the town council is well aware of the problems, but "they keep shifting the blame on consumers failing to pay, while the same audit report of 2013 shows that 36,8% of water bought from the source was lost".

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