KEETMANSHOOP – The Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga says residents must pay for services used and that they should not expect services that are availed by local authorities to be free of charge.
Addressing regional and local councillors, and senior staff from the regional council and various local authorities at Keetmanshoop yesterday, Mushelenga expressed concern about the debt of local authorities, saying a huge chunk of these debts at local authorities is due to residents not paying for services rendered, and this he said should end.
“Most of the debt that local authorities owe to NamWater or NamPower is because the end users owe local authorities money for those services, there is nothing like free lunch. Therefore end users should not expect to receive services they are not paying for, someone should pay for these services,” explained the minister.
He urged local authorities in the region not to fold hands and do nothing, but come up with ways and means to recover such debts and generate an income, noting that revenue collection measures must be in place at all local authorities.
He said as much as government want to bring services closer to the people through local authorities, this will not work if people do not pay for the services they use, as local authorities cannot develop and grow if they are robbed of their income.
“I want you to put in place mechanisms, in order to recover these debts within a reasonable time, local authorities cannot develop when you have debtors all over, that’s why service providers like NamPower cut their services if you are not paying,” he stressed.
The minister also wants housing provision to be a priority for all local authorities and town councils, saying housing is a basic need and every Namibian should have a roof over their head. He noted that it is up to town and village councils to ensure land is serviced and houses are built for the people.
He urged the towns and villages to enter into Public Private Partnership (PPP) and construct houses that will be affordable for the residents.
He however, warned that entering these agreements should be for a good reason and not just for the sake of it while nothing happens on the ground.
“Housing prices are exaggerated by construction companies, it is not that land is always expensive, some of them just give this excuse but it is not true, some just want to become rich overnight at the expense of robbing the poor, this is not the Namibia that we fought for,” he said.
According to him, team work is important, saying many a time, the governor’s office, regional council and local authorities work in isolation and he called for an end to this, saying working together is key.
Mushelenga is on a familiarisation tour of the region, and is expected to visit Oranjemund today.