Many Keetmanshoop residents remain without ablution facilities and water and electricity despite living on serviced land at Tseiblaagte Extension Six.
Last year the Keetmanshoop Municipality serviced about 100 erven at Extension Six, and handed over the plots to their respective owners in December, with an agreement that residents themselves should bring services such as water and electricity to their plots.
The municipality’s public relations officer Dawn Kruger in an interview last year indicated that the exercise is aimed at giving residents the chance to do things in their own time and when finances allow, but what was meant to be a good gesture seems not to be going well.
Many residents still remain without water and toilets, with many indicating they still use public toilets or the nearest bushes when nature calls, and fetch water from public taps.
The residents say they cannot afford to bring water and electricity to their plots as many of them are unemployed or pensioners, and thus find it difficult to raise money to bring these services to their houses.
Theresia Christiaans, 70, is one such plot owner who said she is struggling to get a tap installed, adding that the money from her monthly pension is just not enough.
She said she lives with her daughter and three grandchildren, whom she labelled as “without fathers” as their fathers do not support them, and this she said means her meagre pension is mostly spent on food and other basic needs and nothing is left for anything else.
“I want a tap and toilet of my own. I have tried saving but I end up using the money as there is sometimes nothing to eat at home, and I do not have a choice but to use the money to buy something to eat,” she said.
She indicated it would cost her about N$2,500 to bring water to her plot, an amount she said she simply cannot afford unless she manages to get a loan with Nampost.
Residents in the neighbourhood New Era spoke to said so far only two households have managed to set up their own taps, while no one has managed to build their own toilet, while many said electricity and brick houses remain a distant dream.
Kruger in a telephonic interview could not say how many households have installed their own taps, but said people are applying for consumer accounts.
She however said it is sad that people are still not able to pay for such services, but she said the municipality has come up with special rates for the elderly, which can help with affordability.
She said the municipality would now have to look at the situation and perhaps consider other options such as subsidising, so that more residents can be able to pay for these services, as it would be a waste to have serviced these plots but residents are still without basic services.
“We could look into that and perhaps look at the possibility of subsidising to make it affordable for our people,” she said.