Namibia: Eight Years With No Water for Rundu Residents

RESIDENTS in the informal settlements of Rundu in Kavango East say they are tired of having no access to water.

According to the residents, for over eight years they have lived without water and some resort to getting water illegally.

A resident in the Sun City informal settlement, who prefers anonymity, says they cannot keep living like this.

She says she has had to fetch water from her neighbours ever since she moved to the area and she would pay them end of the month because she cannot afford the illegal connection.

"I fetch my water from neighbours that have water connected. If I could afford it, I would have connected my water illegally too," she says, adding that she does not understand why it is taking the council so long to address the issue.

"Why should we be subjected to such living conditions? I doubt the people in high places would survive living the way we do," she says.

According to her, most of the high-ranking officials do not truly understand how difficult it is to live in informal settlements.

"They should try living in a shack with no water, and maybe they will understand why we keep calling for help," she says.

Another resident in the Sikanduko area also prefers anonymity because he connected his water illegally and fears the consequences. "Yes, I connected my water illegally. What was I supposed to do? Live without water year in year out?" He asks.

He says if the council did their job, he would have not resorted to such action, but he had no choice.

Mayor of Rundu Kanyanga Gabriel says the newly appointed council is looking into addressing the water issue.

He says one problem they are facing is that the town council buys prepaid water from NamWater, while the residents consume the water from the council and pay later.

"Our residents get to consume water and pay monthly, however, not everyone settles their bills," Gabriel says, adding that this is how they owe money to NamWater.

"The council owes NamWater above N$100 million," he says.

Gabriel says records show that only 30% of the town's residents settle their water bills. "It makes it difficult for us to operate when we are receiving so little," he says.

He says, as mayor, he plans to engage with the community more.

"I would like to observe the situation on the ground. So, I will go down to the community to speak to the people, this way I can better understand how to help them," he said.

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