Namibia: City Dismisses Brakwater Complaints

The City of Windhoek has dismissed concerns by Brakwater residents over the lack of infrastructure, roads and street names in the area, saying these problems are not unique to the area.

City spokesperson Lydia Amutenya said this last week in an email response to questions sent by The Namibian over claims by Brakwater residents.

The residents have complained of increased rates and taxes ranging between 3000% and 5000% introduced last year, which they described as having added to their frustrations. They also complained of increasing crime, lack of road infrastructure, a poor communications network and lack of emergency services in the area.

Amutenya, however, said: "These are common problems in Windhoek and not unique to Brakwater," but that council is striving to address the various challenges faced by all communities.

She also said they are rendering services to Brakwater such as crime prevention and emergency services in response to fire incidents or ambulance calls and solid waste management.

"Solid waste management is also provided through the solid waste transfer station where the residents take their waste which is then transferred to the city's landfill sites," said Amutenya.

The Namibian recently reported on various residents' complaints who said they are made to pay for services that the city is not delivering as most have developed their areas themselves.

Brakwater Advisory Committee (BAC)'s Bert Laaser last week also requested that the rates and taxes increases be put on hold as there has been no consultation with the community before the new rates were imposed.

According to him, there had been no communication with the city since 2012 despite the fact that BAC was set up as a communication forum between the community and the municipality.

He also noted that the council resolution dated 12 July 2018, which instructed the city's strategic executive of finance and customer services to be given permission to apply the Windhoek tariff by 1 August 2018, only mentioned Finkenstein, Sungate, Regenstein, Omeya, Herboth's Blick and Brakwater Industrial Estate, among others.

He said, they are a residential area and not part of the industrial estate and therefore should not be paying any increased tariffs and rates.

Amutenya, however, quoted the same council resolution and highlighted the part where it states that "the tariff promulgated for and applicable to the charging of rates to all extended boundary areas of Windhoek apply to Brakwater".

She said they had also not communicated with BAC as it was dormant at some point due to infighting among the committee members.

"There were disagreements between members of the committee and as a result, it was inactive for some time, but it is now operational again.

"We are aware of the concerns raised by the Brakwater community members, but the City of Windhoek uses various platforms to update the public such as public meetings which are held in various places in the city," said Amutenya.

She said rates and taxes should not be confused with other services as they are not linked to a particular service, just like the income tax or property tax most Windhoek residents pay.

She said refuse, sewage, water, electricity, etc, are charged to those who have access and utilise the services.

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