KEETMANSHOOP - The Keetmanshoop municipality has suspended the disconnection of basic services, especially water, to defaulters, until further notice.
According to municipal spokesperson Dawn Kruger, the decision emanates from the need to first work out proper modalities as to how these water supply disconnections should be carried out.
“The cutoff list available should now first be analysed to ensure that defaulters who in the meantime paid their current accounts and further made arrangements on their outstanding arrears are not unnecessarily disadvantaged,” she explained.
The spokesperson said many residents paid their accounts through electronic fund transfers without indicating their erf or account numbers, which now needs to be verified before council can continue the disconnection.
“Another factor to be considered is whether unemployed residents can afford to pay their accounts, bearing in mind that the whole country is going through a difficult economic crisis,” she said.
Kruger also said council will only be able to finalise the cutoff list and effect disconnections accordingly once all these external factors have been addressed.
She continued that it is imperative that those who cannot afford to pay their accounts, like the unemployed and vulnerable have access to clean, drinking water in order to comply with the Covid-19 health regulation prescribing the washing of hands with soap and water where sanitiser is unavailable.
“Council might consider interim measures like the dripping system, water supply in smaller amounts at certain intervals or erecting water tanks for this group of unfortunate residents,” she explained. The spokesperson, however, cautioned residents not to regard this humanitarian gesture as a go ahead of not paying for basic services.
“The municipality still needs to collect the revenue derived from payments for basic services in order to honour our agreement with NamWater for outstanding arrears, which is running into millions of dollars,” said Kruger.