GOBABIS - Several ministries operating from government buildings at Gobabis spent a fourth day without water and electricity on Friday.
The Gobabis Municipality’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Efraim Dawids, told Nampa in an interview on Friday that the council resolved to disconnect all municipal services to those that owe money for such services.
He said Gobabis inhabitants owe the municipality over N$30 million, and yet council is expected to keep paying Namwater and Nampower for bulk water and electricity supply.
Hardest hit is the government building that houses several ministries such as the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) and the Electoral Commission of Namibia.
The water and electricity services at the Gobabis government offices were disconnected on Tuesday due to unpaid bills of about N$4 900.
Chief information officer for the Omaheke Region in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Esther Benjamin, said on Friday that the situation has forced her to work from the Omaheke Regional Council’s offices.
“I am carrying out my duties from the Omaheke Regional Council Chamber. The electricity and water at work was cut off on Tuesday already,” she said.
Rauna Munyama, a chief clerk at the DVS is another one of the disgruntled occupants of offices at the government building. Munyama said she had been attempting to work in her dark office from Tuesday morning.
“I am waiting for the Ministry of Works and Transport to do something. My head office in Windhoek has been already informed of my situation,” she said.
On Friday morning, the municipality also disconnected water and electricity supply to the government flats behind the post office due to unsettled debts of more than N$18 000.
When Nampa contacted the Ministry of Works and Transport in Gobabis to get their take on the matter, they washed their hands of the matter.
Chief clerk in the works department, Michelin Taylor, said she was aware of the electricity and water services being disconnected at government buildings.
“However, it is not my ministry’s responsibility to pay their water and electricity bills. Each ministry operating in that building must contribute some money to settle their bills,” she said.
Taylor further said that a Cabinet decision taken in 1997 about the payment of government institutions’ municipal accounts was “clear.”
She explained that the 1997 decision states that each ministry or government agency occupying a building under the Ministry of Works and Transport has the responsibility to budget and pay for services provided by local authorities.
“The decision was implemented long ago, in April 1998. The ministries operating from that building must budget for their electricity and water bills, not us at Works,” she said. - Nampa