Rundu's N$45m 'water rot'

07 August 2020 | Local News

Kenya Kambowe


Payment defaulters in Rundu's 11 suburbs owe the council a combined N$45 million for water, with the highest defaulter owing N$432 000.

For years, a substantial number of Rundu residents have been enjoying municipal services for free, while neglecting to pay their municipal accounts, Namibian Sun has learnt.

This excludes those living in the town's informal settlements, where thousands reside.

However, these defaulters' days are numbered, as the town council is in the process of appointing a debt collector.

Rundu town council administrator, Sebastian Kantema, said they are in the final stages of appointing a debt collector who will start in September.

“We placed an advert in the newspapers seeking a debt collector. We got a number of interested parties and a successful bidder was selected and also presented how they will collect this money on our behalf,” Katema said.

Long-standing debt

Kantema further said these water debts are longstanding and were not incurred recently, adding that people expect council to deliver services while not paying their municipal accounts.

“Council can only deliver services if we have the resources,” he said.

According to documents seen by Namibian Sun, upmarket suburbs such as Tutungeni and Queens Park owe a combined N$12.6 million.

This is while the two suburbs are often unaffected by frequent water interruptions at the town.

Meanwhile, water account defaulters in the Safari suburb owe N$12.3 million, of which the highest defaulter owes N$301 000, while defaulters in suburbs such as Donkerhoek, Nkarapamwe, Rainbow Village, Kings Park and Millennium Park owe N$5.8 million, N$4.8 million, N$1.4 million. N$2.7 million and N$1.8 million respectively.

Other defaulters in suburbs such as the National Housing Enterprises in the Kaisosi location owe N$1.1 million, while those at Alpha Court owe N$1.3 million.

Namibian Sun also learnt that residents who recently moved into the new Sunshine township, being constructed by Chinese businesswoman Stina Wu's Helmsman Group, are failing to pay their water bills.

According to documents, defaulters at Sunshine owe council N$166 000, of which the highest defaulter owes N$8 000.

Fixing the rot

When asked how council allowed residents to owe hundreds of thousands each in water debt over the years, Kantema said this was due to weak leadership.

“I blame it on the leadership who failed to ensure that the residents are paying for services rendered. I also blame the community who failed to pay their accounts,” he said.

Appointed by former urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga, who in March suspended the entire Rundu town council, Kantema's six-month contract comes to an end in September.

He said residents should note that living in town is not cheap, therefore they should not expect to be granted services they do not pay for.

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