KEETMANSHOOP - As part of government’s continuous efforts to address the plight of senior citizens in the country, the council and management of Keetmanshoop municipality has introduced various measures aiming to benefit the elderly of the capital of the south.
Speaking during a recent official handover event for residents of old-aged homes in the //Kharas Region, mayor of Keetmanshoop Gaudentia Kröhne said the elderly residents are 100 percent exempted from paying basic charges for water, although they have to pay for monthly water consumption charges.
She added that another benefit accorded to them is a 60 percent discount on monthly sewerage charges, whilst they also received 50 percent discount with regards to refuse removal charges.
“Pensioners also receive rebate on reconnection fees if their water is disconnected, and they only have to pay 10 percent on the outstanding amount to be connected,” said Kröhne.
The mayor continued by stating that the municipality and its debt collecting agency recently rewarded elderly people doing prompt payments on their outstanding accounts by donating 100 cellphones to them in order to stay informed of the status of their accounts.
She further announced that council is also in the process to give pensioners using conventional electricity the opportunity to switch over to pre-paid electricity by donating 500 pre-paid boxes to the elderly with the assistance of ErongoRed.
Kröhne then informed the audience that the installation of pre-paid electricity boxes by the Keetmanshoop Electricity Business Unit and simultaneous writing off of basic charges for pensioners at Daan Viljoen Old Age Home was another measure put in place to assist these vulnerable group of people.
“The biggest challenge lies in providing pensioners with basic necessities since most of them are left to fend for themselves,” the mayor said. She explained that, as opposed to in the past where communities look after senior citizens, they are now left at old age homes to make a living from monthly old age grants which does not serve as sufficient.
In conclusion, the mayor called on businesses in //Kharas Region as a whole, but Keetmanshoop in particular to “plough back a little in the communities in which they operate, as a part of their social responsibility initiatives”.