KEETMANSHOOP – Confusion reigned on Tuesday at Keetmanshoop after some residents found themselves without water and electricity.
This happened while the Keetmanshoop municipality management committee chairperson Easter Isaak assured residents during a media briefing that no basic services would be discontinued.
In contrast to Isaak’s statement, posts on social media circulating earlier this week furthermore indicated the municipality would disconnect the water and electricity services of those residents who did not pay their current accounts and who have failed to enter into a payment arrangement.
New Era has furthermore seen a Keetmanshoop municipality resolution, stating if residents fail to pay their current accounts in full, it will result in the immediate disconnection of basic services, starting from the July 2021 billing cycle.
“Council directs that the finance department implements credit control processes on all customers’ operational accounts in an effort to improve monthly revenue collection,’’ the council resolution further read.
Municipal spokesperson Dawn Kruger, however, confirmed with this publication yesterday that the disconnections will continue unhindered for the time being.
“Residents were informed accordingly in advance, and those affected should come to our offices, pay their current accounts in full and make the necessary arrangements in terms of their outstanding accounts before their services will be reconnected,’’ she said.
Meanwhile, Isaak remained adamant during the briefing that no services will be disconnected.
“No disconnection of water supply to residents will be allowed; council will rather disconnect the basic services of government offices/ministries/agencies and businesses,” he said.
The chairperson added that, as of 31 August 2021, council owed NamWater an amount of N$21.5 million.
“These segmented debts by OMAs and businesses will now be collected in order to settle the debt with Namwater as our finance department will now send letters of demand to these entities and alternatively disconnect services if they fail to pay their accounts,’’ he added.
A retired civil servant Agnes Tise (54) said it is every resident’s responsibility to pay for basic services delivered if they are in a financial position to do so.
“I did my part, as we will be all sitting without water if the municipality cannot collect revenue through our payments in order for them to honour payments with their suppliers like NamWater,” she said.
Another resident, who preferred anonymity, said with Covid-19, a lot of them lost their jobs due to retrenchments and the poor economic situation globally.
“The municipality should please bear with us, as we, as human beings, cannot survive without water; we are, however, willing to come and pay the little money we can manage to get hold of,’’ he added.
There are strong indications that residents will stage a peaceful demonstration this week against the disconnection of services as well as the current rates and taxes.