City of Windhoek owed N$500 million

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Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-The City of Windhoek (CoW) is owed more than N$500 million in unpaid rates and arrears by residents, government institutions and businesses its new CEO, Robert Kahimise, revealed at State House yesterday when he and his team briefed President Hage Geingob on challenges faced and achievements made by CoW over the past year.

Those who owe the municipality are, among others, pensioners and vulnerable residents, who collectively owe the City about N$12.5 million, as well as government agencies and leading business institutions.

Windhoek Mayor Muesee Kazapua said the majority of pensioners were unable to pay their municipality debts. He noted that in 2013 the City wrote off an unspecified amount of pensioners’ and vulnerable residents’ debts.

“We have realised that writing off the debt was not a sustainable solution and we are seeking solutions, such as a process of installing prepaid water and electricity meters, to homes of pensioners and vulnerable residents,” said the youthful mayor.

Kazapua called on central government to come on board to see whether it is possible to write off the debt. He said many pensioners have been losing their homes due to unpaid municipal debts, adding that “It’s high time that we come up with a permanent solution to the problem.”

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Presidential Affairs Minister Frans Kapofi, Urban and Rural Development Minister Sophia Shaningwa, President Geingob’s special advisors, as well as Kahimise and his team.

On her part the prime minister said the fact that the City had brought their plan to government shows that it is moving in the right direction.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said government was fully aware that the City has initiated efforts to strengthen relations with the private sector through a number of public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements.

“PPP is an option for us to look at if we want to be able to really cater for the needs of our communities, especially when it comes to housing and sanitation,” she advised.

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