Disastrous if NamPower Again Cuts Gibeon’s Electricity

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By Hoandi !Gaeb MARIENTAL Residents of Gibeon have threatened to take undisclosed action if the national electricity utility, NamPower, goes ahead with its plan to cut off electricity supply to the town for the second time this year. They say the consequences of their action would be disastrous. New Era spoke to several inhabitants of the town after a report appeared in an English daily newspaper with the headline “NamPower is ready to put plug on Gibeon again.” The newspaper reports that power supply will be cut off in December as no payments have yet been made since the first electricity cut-off. During the first cut-off, the town had to go without electricity for almost a month. During that period, the Gibeon mortuary virtually came to a standstill and corpses were transported to Mariental, Keetmanshoop or MaltahÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶he while business houses at the town could also only operate at certain hours for fear of criminal activity at night. Health services at the clinic for the almost 3ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 residents could also only be carried out during the day under difficult circumstances. A prominent businessman and owner of the tannery at Gibeon, Mr Trugot/Khaxab, told New Era that another blackout at Gibeon would mean a lot of problems for the already impoverished town. “We will again be punished for the problems caused by others who do not meet their bills,” complained /Khaxab. He said it was a well-known fact that some residents of Gibeon had not paid their accounts for a couple of years, but nothing has been done so far. He said he failed to comprehend why there was no money to pay Nampower if it was expected from residents to buy pre-paid electricity.” Where is the money going”? he asked. /Khaxab said when the electricity supply was cut off earlier he, as a diabetic, like many others at the town, suffered severely as he could not store insulin at his house. “I was nearly dead because I had to opt for tables contrary to the prescription by the doctor. It was chaotic for me,” he said. He said another cut could result in increased criminal activites as some people would like to capitalize on the situation. They can also easily come from other towns to create havoc,” he said. He called on the local authorities to come out and tell the residents what went wrong, and where. “We cannot be held responsible for the corruption in the village council”. Another businessman at the town, Henning van Wyk, was even more furious. He said that when the supply was cut off about two months ago, it was like closing the door to business in the town. “Why should we suffer at Gibeon while we are doing sound business with the locals?” He said it was his understanding that not only would electricity be cut off this time round, but also water. “How are we going to survive?”, he asked. It is believed that the village owes NamPower and NamWater some N$400ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 collectively. Van Wyk accused political parties of promisig people during election campaigns that they would not have to pay for basic services if their political parties took over government. This, he said, was one of the reasons why some people had not paid their accounts for more than 13 years now. According to Van Wyk, criminal activities had increased during the previous cut-off. A girl was raped and another was rescued from being raped. “We will have to learn to stay at home during the night.” “We cannot even speak about Christmas this year. It is going to be a dark one.” He suggests that if the situation at Gibeon returns to normal, other personnel should be recruited to run the village office. At the moment nothing is being done and the salaries of those people still have to be paid by the already impoverished community, he concluded. Meanwhile, Councillor of the Gibeon Constituency, Karl Kisting, said he wants to consult all stakeholders as the situation is very serious and sensitive, before issuing a media release today. When electricity was cut off in September, the villagers handed over a petition to Kisting expressing their dismay about the situation. In an earlier interview, Kisting called upon Nampower and Namwater to exercise restraint when cutting off basic services, saying people have been doing business with them for many years. The Governor of the Hardap Region, Ms Katrina Hanse, is expected to make a statement later.