Namibia: Disconnect the Rich's Water, Lpm Erongo Demands

THE Landless People's Movement leadership at Walvis Bay is condemning the "biased" actions of the Walvis Bay Municipal Council's administration, saying they are causing vulnerable people to suffer because of outstanding debts.

The party demands that the water supply of businesses, the well-off and the politically connected who owe the council be cut with immediate effect.

In a press statement on Saturday, the party's regional leader, Stanly Bikeur, said Walvis Bay is one of the few municipalities that does not owe NamWater or ErongoRED any outstanding amount, as the council is the majority shareholder, with a 49% share in the Erongo region's electrical distribution business.

"Yes, the council has inherited an outstanding debt of N$436 928 493, which originated from various rented services. Since these debts are not from yesterday, it is clear that the policies in place are less effective regarding the wealthy and politically connected. It only seems to be useful and fully effective and executed on the vulnerable, in terms of debt recovery.

"Therefore, policy review is vital, as the current credit-control and debt-recovery policy was not imposed across the board in full. This was the cause of the accumulation of debt," Bikeur said in the statement.

He said many vulnerable people at the town are left without the needed basic services, as they owe the council, while those who are well off owe the most.

"The government itself owes N$21 636 147,19, while businesses make up a debt rate of

N$56 150 188,70, but they still enjoy basic services, which are restricted to the vulnerable in terms of credit-control and debt-recovery policy. Where is the fairness when the vulnerable are the ones who suffer in most cases?" he asked.

Bikeur said the council is creating room for debt accumulation through payment arrangements on outstanding debt to keep taps full. He said vulnerable people, who have accumulated debt due to payment arrangements, are mostly unemployed, which contributes to non-payment. The LPM is therefore proposing the drafting and immediate implementation of a policy for the vulnerable at the town. Walvis Bay municipality's spokesperson Kevin Adams said the municipality treats everyone the same.

"If they see anything that is not handled correctly, they must bring it to the attention and discuss the matter with acting chief executive officer Frans Gonteb," he said.

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