Keetmans to address Ileni challenges

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Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop-Keetmanshoop Municipality says it is ready to improve lighting and sanitation at Ileni informal settlement within the coming months.

The settlement remains mostly without electricity, while proper ablution facilities remain a distant dream for many residents, with many still using the bushes when nature calls.
Municipality spokesperson, Dawn Kruger, says situation in the area will improve soon.

Kruger indicated during a press conference at Keetmanshoop on Thursday that after the tribal confrontations at Ileni last month, council has been approached by many parties regarding the challenges the Ileni community faces, which include lack of electricity and street lighting, and lack of ablution facilities, among others. Council has resolved to rectify the issues raised, he revealed.

“One of the outcries was for proper lighting in the area, and the council has agreed to approach SELCo to assist with the erection of streetlights at strategic points in the reception area,” she said. “Council has also agreed to look at the general hygiene and sanitation in and around the area.”

While erecting streetlights will be in collaboration with SELCo, the municipality Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Desmond Basson, revealed that the municipality would embark on its own project to bring lighting to Ileni through solar-powered streetlights.

He said the coverage of the project would depend on the response from the community. He noted that the first lights to be installed would serve as a pilot project to be extended to the whole community once the initial lights are not vandalised.

“We have invited quotations and if we are satisfied with the prices, we should be able to do this within two months. But the continuity will depend on how the residents take care of the lights,” he said.

He also noted with concern that public toilets erected by the municipality are all not working due to vandalism. He urged residents to use these facilities in the right way and not break them as soon as they are set up, as it costs money to maintain them.

Basson said despite the vandalism, the municipality is committed to bringing services to the community and 10 prefabricated toilets will be set up around the area to cater for the residents.

The CEO also announced that about 25 houses at Ileni would be installed with electricity within this month, adding that the contractor is already on site.

He furthermore stated that the municipality, as like many other institutions in the country, is experiencing cash flow problems and urged residents to pay what is due to the municipality in order to improve the situation. He warned that the municipality has started cutting off water supplies to those residents that are not paying.

He was, however, confident that despite the financial problems, the municipality is well positioned to pay what is due to water utility, NamWater. He, therefore, assured residents that there would be no water cuts by NamWater.

“We have about N$4 million outstanding, but we don’t have issues with paying and we have made payment arrangements with NamWater and we will honour that arrangement,” he said.

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