Namibia: Otjiwarongo Residents Bemoan Poor Service Delivery

23 November 2020

Otjiwarongo — Despite promises by politicians during election campaigns to improve service delivery, residents of the New Ombili informal settlement on the outskirts of Otjiwarongo said they are tired of empty promises.

Namibians are going to the polls to vote leaders for their local authorities and regional councils on Wednesday.

Despite their plight, many of the residents of New Ombili have vowed to go vote.

Majority of the unemployed residents are battling with hopelessness, poverty, lack of potable water, no power and lack of ablution facilities.

Although the municipality has allocated water points in the area, the community complained that they want private taps in their houses, which are mainly made of corrugated iron sheets, and stalks.

They said they walk long distances to fetch water.

The residents also indicated that due to lack of sanitation facilities, they resort to the bushes to relieve themselves.

Resorting to the bushes, they feel is unsafe as criminals are active in the area, and they are also exposed to dangerous snakes.

Hilma Shifidi who lived in New Ombili informal settlement since 2014 said they are mostly unemployed which threatens their livelihoods.

"We are unemployed but we don't get Harambee food like other people. We don't understand Harambee food. You will see your neighbour getting registered and get free food but some of us never received any food," she complained.

To earn an income to support her family, Shifidi sells Kapana in town but many a times the police always confiscate her wares.

According to her, they are often fined N$1000, which she cannot afford.

Shifidi called on the Otjiwarongo municipality to allocate them an open market, while she highlighted the plight of electricity, potable water and toilets.

"It is dangerous to go out at night. We don't see our leaders. We only see them during the elections. They only want us to vote for them but they don't care about us. We will go and vote for the future of our children," she said.

Another resident, Dommy Shilandula also demanded that they be provided with power, water and ablution facilities.

"We have water points but they are not enough. We want taps in our houses. We can't afford it because we are unemployed. We have a high crime rate here but the police do not respond promptly in times of emergencies," Shilandula added.

He said they only see their councillors during elections when canvassing their votes, but they disappear after being elected into office without delivering services.

Meanwhile, elderly Elizabeth Ngulonda (77) who originated from Opuwo and went into Angola during the apartheid era is struggling to care for her disabled grandchild who is unable to walk or talk.

Ngulonda says although the disabled 12-year-old receives her monthly social grant, the money is still being received by her mother who lives in Opuwo.

Therefore, she wants home affairs to help her change the status so she starts receiving the money and takes care of the beneficiary.

Ngulonda says she has been struggling to get a Namibian national document, as she currently possesses the South African one. To make matters worse, her South African document shows that she was born in 1960, although she is old.

This she claims has affected her because she still does not get a pension grant.

"Home affairs is not willing to assist me. I don't receive pension. I have a grandchild who is disabled. We don't have an income in the house.

We don't have a sewerage system. We clean our houses and surroundings but we don't have dustbins," Ngulonda said.

Despite all these challenges, she vowed to go and vote, saying she assisted in the liberation struggle of Namibia.

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