OKAHANDJA - Residents of Extension 8 have accused the Okahandja Municipality of sending them inflated bills for municipal rates and taxes over the past eight years.
Only last December did the municipality adjust their municipal rates and taxes bringing them in line with what residents of Extension 9 are paying.
Ben Katamila, a resident of Extension 8 since 2012, informed this reporter he noted his rates and taxes were billed incorrectly when he learned from other residents living in Extension 8 how low their amounts were compared to his inflated bill.
In 2012 he used to pay N$211 but this amount shot up astronomically to N$810 over the past eight years though residents of the neighbouring Extension 9 have been paying monthly rates and taxes of N200 which means he paid the difference of N$610.
This prompted Katamila to engage his neighbours and subsequently they formed a committee that approached the municipality to find out what procedures are being used when they determine their rates and taxes, and they also questioned why their amounts differ from those charged to residents of Extension 9 as the two residential areas are similar in size.
After months of countless meetings with no clear explanation, the municipality conceded it made a “billing error”.
Last December Katamila’s account was adjusted and was reduced to N$186, the same with the other residents living in the area. They then enquired as to their refunds due to them for the years that they have been overcharged. Katamila is expected to receive a refund exceeding N$8 000.
The executive finance officer at the municipality, Pesella Nundu, who confirmed the issue had promised to reply to media inquiries sent to him last week via mail but he has so far failed to do so after countless efforts done by this reporter.
Another resident from Extension 8 who chose to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation expressed the same frustration towards the garden town’s municipality. The resident experienced the same treatment Katamila got over the years with a sharp 70 percent increase. His account was also adjusted to N$141 compared to the amounts exceeding N$700 that he has been forking out. He is also still waiting for a reimbursement and officials at the town could not tell him when he will get a refund.
Over the years since building started in Extension 8 and Extension 9, there has been little development seen in the area in terms of recreation facilities, street lights, roads and sewer systems making the inflated billing unjustified.