KATIMA MULILO - Katima Mulilo Town Council employees have indicated they will down tools on Monday after they failed to reach an agreement over a nine percent salary increment.
New Era has been informed the Katima council was unwilling to give any salary increase but after being pressured by the Namibia Public Worker’s Union (Napwu) they offered a five percent increase that was rejected by the workers.
The regional coordinator of Napwu in Zambezi, Prisca Makabi confirmed the strike saying the aggrieved employees voted in favour of the planned strike after they failed to reach an agreement with the town council’s management.
“The strike is on, on Monday 03 December, and we have already given the notice, everyone is going to strike except the managers, because it was already voted for,” said Makabi.
Approached for comment, Katima Mulilo acting CEO, Charlie Ntema confirmed he was aware of the strike. “I have just received the notice about the strike from the union and I am going to share it with the mayor,” he said.
New Era is also informed that workers are also complaining about unfair working conditions. “Field workers are not doing their job, they just go to work and sit, because almost all the cars are not working, and there is no money to fix them,” a source told New Era.
Earlier this week, the entire town of Katima Mulilo was without water for almost two days, because the council did not have money to buy water from NamWater. They later sourced N$200 000, and bought water on Tuesday, which sources say might not last for a week. Meanwhile, council still owes NamWater around N$19 million and this has resulted in the national water utility frequently cutting off the town’s water supply.
The frequent water cuts could also hit residents of the Zambezi working in other regions who intend to spend their festive season at the town.
“Town council does not have money, all the accounts have already been exhausted, they are now operating in negatives.” another well-placed source told New Era. Critics have blamed among others the new prepaid water metres, as those who are using cards to buy water units are reportedly neglecting to pay for other services.
Tender irregularities have also played its part, as currently there have been no refuse collecting for about two months, after the rubbish tender was halted by the procurement review committee.
The strike is not only going to affect the already cash-stripped town council, but it will also greatly affect the residents of Katima Mulilo, as emergency services like fire brigade will also not be available. While residents will also not be able to buy water as of Monday through the pre-paid system, which many residents rely on.