Residents demand reimbursement for damaged property

Stanley Isaacks said he has spent at least N$33 000 in the repair and replacement of appliances damaged on the day, while 71-year-old Dorothea Karigus’ television exploded.

23 November 2021 | Local News

ESTER KAMATI







WINDHOEK

About 40 families in Katutura’s Damara Location suffered damages to electrical appliances due to a ‘technical glitch’.

During the replacement of a transformer by the City of Windhoek in August 2020, several appliances were damaged, and the families are now demanding compensation.

Stanley Isaacks said he has spent at least N$33 000 in the repair and replacement of appliances damaged on the day.

When the ‘glitch’ took place, the City sent employees to assess the damaged property.

“We showed them our electrical appliances that got damaged and they told us we have to go to furniture shops and get quotations. We sent these to the electrical department.

“Since last year, we’ve been fighting with them until now. We can’t take this. We need a solution for our damaged property,” he said.

In a letter seen by Namibian Sun, the City’s insurer, Momentum Insurance, rejected the claim and will not pay for the damages.

“We regret to advise that we cannot entertain the claim as the loss is not covered in the terms of the City of Windhoek liability policy,” it read.

‘They are liable’

“We don’t want to fight with the insurance [company] – that’s their stuff. We have to fight with the City of Windhoek. They are liable for the damage of our property,” Isaacks said.

“It’s [been over] a year. A lot of our equipment, we fixed them and we bought new stuff for ourselves. We just want to be compensated, because we already helped ourselves.”

He said some appliances are a necessity and had to be repaired or replaced urgently.

Isaacks, who is unemployed, said he had to fork out cash to replace the electrical wires in his house on top of replacing his television, microwave, laptop, cell phone and main switch.

Pensioner’s TV explodes

Amongst those whose property was damaged is 71-year-old Dorothea Karigus, who recalls the incident.

“The kettle went on without anybody switching it on. The TV burst, so I said ‘take the children out of the house so that we can stand outside’.

“Would it have been good if it was a person who perished instead of all these appliances? What would they have said?” The pensioner said she is not able to walk and visit offices to enquire and relies on information from other members of the community.

‘We want compensation’

Catherine Boois said she has been enquiring since last year, and initially an official from the technical department admitted fault, has since changed their mind.

“This year, we have been communicating with finance department people. They told us that they are aware of the rejection from the insurer and that basically this is an internal issue and they will discuss it internally and communicate with us.

“It is the responsibility of City of Windhoek. We want compensation. We don’t want anyone telling us ‘we are waiting for an answer’. They can claim from their insurance but us here, we want to be compensated for our damaged electrical appliances.”

In September, the City’s Rauna Haipinge told residents a claim to their insurance company for a goodwill payment had been under review. This week, communications manager Harold Akwenye told Namibian Sun they resubmitted the request and are still waiting for feedback.

"We are in constant communication with the insurance broker with regards to this matter. The City is also in constant communication with the representatives of this group, who visited our offices on several occasions," he said.

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