Councillor urges N$76m Rundu bailout

06 November 2019 | Government

KENYA KAMBOWE



Rundu Concerned Citizens Association (RCCA) chairperson Reginald Ndara, who also serves as a councillor on the local town council, has called on government to bail out the cash-strapped municipality, which owes NamWater nearly N$76 million.

He says the local authority is on the verge of bankruptcy. Ndara made the call during a RCCA meeting on Saturday.

He argued that a huge chunk of the monthly income of the town council is being used to service the NamWater debt and pay for prepaid water, since the council was moved from the conventional post-paid system due to its debt.

He said because of this, the council is unable to focus on developmental projects and effective service delivery, as well as paying staff salaries on time.

Ndara said if the council is unable to provide services to its residents, as stipulated in the Local Authorities Act, chances are, it may be downgraded to village council status.

“The Rundu town council is sinking into debt, and sinking very fast, therefore we are strongly pleading with central government, specifically the line ministry, to bail out the Rundu town council, if not, then the possibility of it being declared bankrupt and insolvent is great,” Ndara said.

While making reference to the effects of water rationing, which is currently taking place in Rundu, Ndara questioned what will happen if the local authority is unable to pay for water.

“If one day without water is a serious concern already, imagine the situation where residents will be without water for three months or so. What a disaster and shame it will be,” Ndara said.

He also used the opportunity to call on residents to use water sparingly and pay their water bills.

“You might think it’s in your favour to owe the local authority money for water used, but in the long run, when there is no water, you will feel the pinch as well. There is no good derived from not settling your accounts,” Ndara said.

Rundu ratepayers owe the local authority over N$200 million.

Last month the cash-strapped Rundu town council threatened to suspend water supply to residents with overdue water bills.

However, weeks’ later Rundu mayor Isak Kandingu announced an incentive programme that will see residents and businesses apply to have their interest on municipal accounts in arrears waived.

The programme will run from 1 November to 30 June 2020.

Saturday’s meeting was also aimed at discussing the upcoming National Assembly and presidential elections, slated for 27 November, specifically how RCCA members will vote.

Ndara said yesterday they decided not to collectively rally behind any political party or presidential candidate.

He said they would vote according to their conscience.