Residents’ debts rise amidst lockdown
29 June 2020 | Local News
From the end of March to the end of May, ratepayers have increased their debts with N$144 million, bringing the total debts owed to the City of Windhoek to N$984 million.
According to mayor Fransina Kahungu, the debt at the end of March stood at N$840 million. “Ratepayers should pay their dues,” she said during the last council meeting last week, adding that they are aware of the impact Covid-19 has on the local and national economy. “Residents should honour their dues as a failure will lead into Council failing to pay service providers. It is therefore against that background esteemed residents that I am humbly requesting you to support the City,” Kahungu said.
Council is currently providing free water in the informal settlement of which Government has indicated to consider providing a relief. “Council has submitted its request for the reimbursement and hope government will soon pronounce itself and effect the compensation which will cushion the shortfall resulting from lost revenue. However, the difference between what government will reimburse council and the actual costs will need to be borne by the ratepayers of Windhoek,” she explained.
During the meeting, she touched on a number of other issues, including land delivery and sanitation. “All unplanned informal settlements were declared Reception Areas in which Certificates of Acknowledgement of Occupation will be issued as an initial step to security of tenure,” she said. Those households occupying areas unsuitable for occupation will be move to suitable areas where certificates will be issued. Council adopted the development and upgrading policy via Resolution 171/07/2019 as a guide on the upgrading and formalization of informal settlements. “A total of 20 000 certificates will be issued in 2020 as part of the Mayoral Action Plan with further certificates to be issued thereafter.”
Kahungu noted that water, sanitation and hygiene are critical aspects to any community and are severly lacking in informal settlements, not only in Namibia but across the world. “Given the challenges, we in Windhoek are working tirelessly to bring these basic services to our people,” she said, adding that a total of 30 communal toilets across all informal settlements were constructed during the last couple of months. Of these toilets, 25 were funded by the line ministry of urban and rural development, while the remaining 5 were funded by Social Security as a contribution for the COVID-19 pandemic. “However, a total of 225 communal toilets donated by Social Security and Nampower still need to be constructed in the coming months.