Otjiwarongo: Over 22 500 live in informal areas

The municipality’s CEO said Otjiwarongo is under severe pressure to both collect debt and service residents.

14 April 2021 | Local News

ESTER KAMATI







OTJIWARONGO

A door-to-door survey has found that over 20 000 Otjiwarongo residents live in informal areas.

This according to municipality CEO Moses Matyayi, who said the town’s population is currently estimated at over 40 000.

He added that Otjiwarongo, as a central town and the capital city of the Otjozondjupa Region, accounts for about 30% of the population of the region.

Of the estimated 40 000-strong population, the survey showed that at least 22 500 residents live in informal settlements, which means that 60% of the population is ineligible for municipal services.

This, in turn, shrinks municipal revenue streams such as rates and taxes, the CEO said.

“We are finding it very difficult as a local authority to actually dispose of our mandate in a more efficient and more effective manner,” Matyayi said at a council meeting last week.

Million-dollar debt

Meanwhile, the municipality was owed N$53 million in municipal services as at November 2020, which it has tried to raise through consultations with the community as well as promotional strategies including discounts on debt clearance.

As of February, the amount has dropped slightly to about N$51 million, according to the CEO.

“That is money that we are supposed to actually have to use or plough back into the community on service delivery. If you could imagine N$53 million lying out there, there is a lot it can do.”

He shared that while the municipality has developed a strategy to collect this debt from residents, it is not as aggressive as it should be.

He further described the debt as a hindrance to proper service delivery at the town.

Too much pressure

“You have got a debt that you need to collect, you have got 60% of your individuals who stay in the informal settlement and they must be serviced by the about 30% of the town who are actually paying rates and taxes on a regular basis and we are not receiving revenue except for water sales that we sell to the informal settlement individuals.”

“That already tells you the pressure on us is too much,” Matyayi said.

“We are basically under severe pressure to collect the debt. We are under severe pressure to also service that specific [informal] area from the little we are actually getting from the formalised area.”

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