TSUMEB – Residents of the townships of Saamstaan, Twatameka and Ondundu at Tsumeb have hailed the Central North Regional Electricity Distribution (CENORED) for providing electricity to marginalised communities.
Residents say the recent installation of an electricity grid came at the right time, just as there is an increase in criminal activities in those areas.
“We were no longer free to move at night and electricity plays an important role in this regard, particularly to scare off [criminals] on the streets nowadays,” said Monika Tsarabes of the Saamstaan Savings Group.
Tiger Uwukhaeb, a resident of the Soweto settlement area, told New Era that incidents of crime have decreased significantly since the installation of bulk electricity supply by CENORED some four years ago. Streetlights now illuminate areas that residents considered dangerous to walk at night not too long ago.
CENORED distributes electricity to the towns of Tsumeb, Otjiwarongo, Grootfontein, Khorixas, Outjo, Okakarara, Kamanjab, Otavi and the Otjozondupa Region. The only concern from the townships is the affordability of electricity tariffs and residents are appealing for affordable tariffs for low-income earners in the townships.
“Imagine me getting only 17 units when buying [electricity worth] N$30, whereas others in Okakarara and other communal areas receive more units for the same amount,” said Uwukhaeb, asking CENORED chief executive officer Mburumba Appolus to intervene.
“We do not want CENORED’s successful deeds to be overridden by constant complaints about high tariffs, because what is good is good. We want to appreciate the good part by encouraging the company to improve on the weaknesses,” Uwukhaeb said.
CENORED is reportedly charging high tariffs in the Tsumeb, Grootfontein and Otjiwarongo service areas, unlike in other towns within its jurisdiction. However, according to Appolus tariff increases at Tsumeb, Grootfontein and Otjiwarongo are gradually increased each year to be on par with other towns.
“We have taken a policy decision to effect lower increases in these towns compared to other consumers in our service areas. We are fully aware of the disparities in this regard – therefore those three towns will not receive high hikes. A point to make is that we are getting closer to levelling the playing field in all towns. We are working hard to reach those levels,” said Appolus.
Prime Minister Nahas Angula was full of praise for CENORED at the official commissioning of the electrification of some suburbs in the CENORED service area two weeks ago.
“CENORED should be commended and congratulated for making a positive contribution to the improvement of the standard of living of our lower income communities.
“The CENORED-Bank Windhoek partnership opens up doors for the people who by themselves are financially excluded from financial services. We must encourage this type of partnership,” said Angula.
CENORED reportedly secured a N$15 million loan from Bank Windhoek to electrify lower income communities. Angula urged recipients of the services to assist CENORED to pay back the loan through the prompt payment of services rendered to them.
Appolus urged recipients of all electrified projects to look after the infrastructure and to report any vandals to the nearest police station.