Namibia: Rundu Taps Dry for Two Days, Taxis Cashing in

23 September 2021

Rundu — Residents of Rundu have been forced to fetch water from the Kavango River since Monday, as the town has run out of money to buy prepaid water from Namwater.

This has angered many residents, and it has affected school and business activities.

Last year, council revealed they were owed by residents and various institutions, including government offices, over N$200 million combined through unpaid water bills, rates and taxes.

Meanwhile, taxi drivers have pounced on this unexpected opportunity.

"I have assisted about three homes today - and yesterday, I also assisted some homes that were in need of water. They give me their water containers and I fetch water at the river as you can see," said Augustinus Haingura from Kehemu location.

"I am charging N$10 per 25liter container, and I am taking a minimum of seven containers per trip," Haingura added.

The water issue at Rundu is not due to a pipe burst but the lack of funds for the council to purchase water units, as the town has in the past years been placed on a prepaid system because of its debt to NamWater.

The town council, however, has repeatedly stated they owe NamWater because institutions and residents are not paying their water bills, rates and taxes.

"The problem now is that our children will come drown at the river, since they are flocking there to bath and cool off due to this," said another taxi driver from Ndama, Immanuel Dimburukeni, who is also charging homes to get them water from the river.

"I am charging per container and the distance I'm traveling," he said.

Rundu resident Leonard Moses from Tuhingireni location, who New Era found collecting water from the river, said he was disappointed with how things happen at the Rundu Town Council.

"Water cuts have become a common thing in this town. This time, it has become worse; we live along the river but we go through this - and our water is even expensive, compared to other places," Moses noted.

"Council must do something. Imagine those who don't have vehicles are the most affected because, since they live far from the river, they are unable to come fetch water, unless they pay other people to collect for them," he said.

A Grade 8 learner, Maria Thinyemba, said the situation is affecting school.

"Most learners are not attending school because of this lack of water issue. We are in exam and this is affecting us," said the Ndama Combined School learner.

Rundu Town Council is mute on the issue; efforts to get comment proved futile.

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