Water and electricity still on ... for now

Sigh of relief for schools

12 November 2018 | Government

With millions of dollars in outstanding debt, the education ministry is feeling the pressure after the municipality announced it would cut water and electricity at schools.

Yolanda Nel - The education ministry owes the City of Windhoek more than N$32 million in outstanding water and electricity debt.

This is according to Harold Akwenye, manager for corporate communications, marketing and public participation at the City of Windhoek.

The principal of one the secondary schools who received a notice that their services would be cut, said that this is not the fault of the regional office. “We don’t know how long these processes take to pay the debt,” he said to Windhoek Express.

Should the water and electricity be cut, it would be a major disaster. “All our learners started with examinations this week,” he said, adding that marks won’t be able to be carried over on the system without electricity. Not only will students not be able to do practical exams without electricity, they also won’t be able to complete examinations in subjects like computer studies or typing.

“We only realise how dependent we are on electricity once the threat exists that is can be cut off,” he said.

In an interview with WE’s sister publication, Namibian Sun, Akwenye said that the last payment of almost N$9 million was made in March. “It only covered half of what was in arrears. [The ministry’s] monthly account is around N$7million.”

The schools being targeted all have an outstanding balance of 30 days and more, and the disconnection is scheduled over a period of a week. However, disconnections were placed on hold when the ministry of education intervened. “The ministry agreed to pay N$15 million to halt the disconnections,” Akwenye said.

The payment should have been received by Friday, but CoW spokesperson, Lydia Amutenya, could not confirm if the payment was received by the end of business. She also did not elaborate on when services would be cut off if payments were not received.

Republikein reported earlier this week that according to budget documents, the amount of money the ministry spends on municipal services is less than what is budgeted for.

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