By Wezi Tjaronda
Three Government institutions and a parastatal owe the Kamanjab Village Council over half a million dollars in unpaid water bills.
The council said yesterday it is in financial difficulties because the four institutions are the major utility users who have become constant defaulters.
The institutions together owe the council N$573 932.22.
Village chairperson, Engenesia Tjaritje, told New Era yesterday Kamanjab was a village and needed to develop but ironically Government institutions were the major defaulters in paying their utility bills.
“They are now forcing us to go and squeeze money from poor people,” she said.
The ministry owes more money than what the village council owes NamWater, she said.
Tjaritje said water supplied to the council was very expensive because of the water pipe that takes water from Khorixas to the village and the small number of people living there.
With the high unemployment rate in the village, she said, most people failed to pay for the water, which forced the council to disconnect the services. Many people do not have water because they could not afford it although many more had their services disconnected for non-payment.
The water pipe that takes water to the village costs around N$45 000 every month, which Tjaritje said was very high. This cost is passed on to the residents, who are already complaining that the bills they get do not match the consumption.
A resident Matjihive Tjiteo said many residents were concerned that the water bills were higher than the water they consumed.
He said his water bill was constant even though water consumption fluctuated monthly.
“My water bill is always N$200. Why does it not change,” he wanted to know.
He also took issue with the fact that the village council estimates the bills and does not go to read water meters.
The village council is now contemplating having its own water source because it feels it may not be able to pay the water utility in future.
Tjaritje said boreholes, which will just need rehabilitation, surrounded the area.
The village council took up the issue with the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development as well as with President Hifikepunye Pohamba when he visited the village.
However, this will only materialise when the council has enough money because Tjaritje said this development was a long and expensive process.
Meanwhile, the council is also owed lots of money in unpaid rates and taxes on undeveloped erven that were bought when the village was still run by the Peri Urban Board.
With the development of the Kamanjab-Omakange-Opuwo road, the council said many companies wanted to invest but the council could not provide serviced erven because they were already in peoples’ hands.
Close to 30 erven were allocated for residential and business purposes two years ago but have not been deve-loped yet.
The council has sent out a final notice to holders of these undeveloped erven for them to explain why the council should not retrieve the land.
The plots consist of seven businesses, 21 residential and one institutional.
Village Councillor, Samora Katjau, said the council has been sending out bills for rates and taxes but gets no response because the owners have either forgotten or died.
“These are open serviced erven that are just lying idle,” added acting Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Bergh.