KEETMANSHOOP, 15 JUN – Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga Thursday said village and town councils must find ways to recover debts owed to them by end users to pay their bills to NamPower and NamWater.
Mushelenga made these remarks at a meeting in Keetmanshoop as part of his ongoing familiarisation visits to all regions.
During the meeting, chief executive officers (CEOs) from the respective town and village councils in //Kharas were given the opportunity to present projects they have executed, projects yet to be implemented and challenges they face.
When some CEOs lamented that they owe NamPower and NamWater over N.dollars 28.2 million combined, the minister said they must find strategies to recover this money, adding that end users must not make use of services they have not paid for.
“They must not use services they did not pay for, not even freedom fighting was for free, they must pay,” Mushelenga emphasised.
He said councils must recover these arrears within a reasonable time period as he will be tough on the councillors. They must put in place mechanisms to get the money or consult the ministry on ways of recovery.
The Keetmanshoop Municipality owes NamPower and NamWater N.dollars 12 million and N.dollar 7 million respectively, said the CEO, Desmond Basson, explaining this is because of the general culture of non-payment from residents.
Bethanie Village Council owes NamPower N.dollars 1.2 million and NamWater N.dollar 6 million, CEO Hendrik Gaobaeb said, also noting this is due to customers not paying and mostly Government institutions being up to four months in arrears.
Gaobaeb added that the worn-out and outdated infrastructure such as water pipes are a challenge as they burst regularly, causing massive amounts of water to be wasted.
“Some of the equipment needed to repair the infrastructure like the asbestos pipes are out of the market leading to non-stop water leakages,” he said.
Koës Village Council owes NamPower N.dollars 2 million, CEO Willie Humphries said.
“We also have difficulty with residents making illegal service connections, resulting in council losing revenue,” he noted.