Bethanie owes millions in utility bills

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Matheus Hamutenya

Bethanie-Bethanie Village Council struggles to pay for its water and electricity due to poor revenue collection as residents fail to pay for these essential municipal services.
The council owes the electricity utility NamPower and the bulk water utility NamWater in excess of N$4.7 million.

The council chairperson Aletha Frederek in an interview indicated although the council is doing well in terms of service provision and running of its operations, there is a huge problem as it does not have the financial capability to pay off its debt that keep ballooning.

New Era was informed that about 3,000 residents owe the council about N$7 million and most residents are unable to pay what they owe as they are mostly pensioners or unemployed.

“Due to poor revenue collection we are struggling to pay NamWater and NamPower, and although we are now on track, we cannot say we can sustain ourselves, but we are surviving,” she stated.

Frederek attributed the non-payment by the residents to the high unemployment at the village, saying many residents are without jobs and thus have no source of steady income from which they can settle their accounts, while many depend on the old age grant.

One of the councillors Konrad Beukes also expressed concern about the situation of non-payment, saying the situation is worrisome and that it is made worse when those pensioners responsible for paying such accounts pass on, as those left behind do not take ownership of the account and thus the debt keeps piling up year by year.

“We have a serious problem with pensioners passing on and those left behind do not take over the responsibility to pay these accounts, and the debt increases from year to year,” he said.

He said most often even if those left behind are willing to take ownership of the accounts, they are afraid to come forward as they do not have the means to pay.

The council also said that the lack of recreational facilities especially for the youth, and alcohol and drug abuse, are some of the challenges facing the village.

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