Indebted Keetmanshoop residents face power cuts

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Photo: Matheus Hamutenya Keeping the lights on… Keetmanshoop Mayor Gaudentia Krohne and Deputy Mayor Hilia Titus.

Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop-Mayor of Keetmanshoop Gaudentia Krohne says the municipality will have no choice but to cut off electricity supply to residents who are in arrears on municipal bills as part of its efforts to recover the N$10 million owed by residents, so that it can also repay its debt to Nampower.

The mayor said this while addressing a poorly attended public meeting at Westdene on Tuesday, informing residents the municipality was left with debt of N$15 million by the previous electricity supplier, Southern Electricity Company (SELCo).

She said N$10 million of the debt is owed by residents and the municipality will do all it can to recover the funds and pay to Nampower what is due to them, even if it means cutting off basic services, such as electricity supply, to defaulting residents.

Krohne pleaded with the residents to understand the municipality’s dire financial situation and to make payments, saying the municipality should not be blamed if it cuts off electricity supply to any of the residents in arrears.

“Unfortunately, SELCo left us with this debt and we will cut off electricity if we have to, so that we can pay this [Nampower debt], and people should not blame us,” she said.

The mayor said councillors understand they were elected to serve the people and provide quality services, but this should not be used as an excuse not to pay for services residents use. She warned that this time around the local councillors would not stand in the way of the administrators when they execute their duties in an attempt to recover monies owed.

“We, as politicians, have decided not to stand in the way of our administrators, but we really do not want anyone to stay without water or electricity, so let us pay,” she said.
The town’s first resident also took time to assure the residents that the municipality in partnership with ErongoRed had everything under control and that no blackout will occur.

Keetmanshoop CEO Desmond Basson said the remainder of the N$15 million debt would be recovered from SELCo through the available legal means. In the meantime the municipality has approached the Ministry of Mines and Energy for financial assistance of N$2.5 million for the next two months.

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