We should make every effort

08 July 2019 | Opinion

We are in full agreement with the Namibia National Farmers’ Union that government should open up all the closed water points in the communal areas. Whether those points are closed due to unpaid water bills or not, is irrelevant. All efforts must be made now to salvage what we can during this crippling drought and to ensure that farmers can retain as many of their cattle as they can during this time.

There are very particular challenges in the northern communal areas, amongst others. In areas where there is still good grazing, there is no water available and other areas, without adequate grazing, have available water. The union also made it clear that the water points which should be opened are the public water points not the private water points.

There is no need for cattle to die of thirst when government has the money to jet in all wind directions and, if it is true that information ministry Stanley Simataa seeks almost N$50 000 for a business class ticket to Moscow, besides the lavish S&T that is rumoured to apply, then certainly we can give water to our people’s cattle.

NamWater can, for example, write off interest on those outstanding accounts and then, government can supply the money to foot the bill that the animals may drink.

Millions have been donated, the most recent, N$60 million from Nampost, for the drought relief effort. There is money, it just has to be allocated correctly.

The man on the street has been tapped dry. Simonis and Storm reports that personal loans and credit card debt has risen to 24%, up from 15% last year. Levels, which they say, are unsustainable. Personal loans and credit card debt skyrocketed to a whopping N$1.39 billion totalling, at the end of May, N$7.2 billion. Simonis and Storm reports that these figures indicate “an incessant strain on the consumer”.

There are no holes left in our belts for us to tighten them more. We also, by the way, cannot give you 2% to aid drought relief.

We would suggest a tightening of belts in all your departments too. Starting with fixing leaks and switching off office lights and air-conditioners when you leave for the day.

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