Some residents of the Rehoboth Block H location are outraged after the town council removed the free water taps that were installed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
They say the virus is still within the community and their health is at stake.
Some of the residents that New Era spoke to on Saturday afternoon have explained that the presidential directive was very clear on providing water to the vulnerable, however, the municipality has ignored it and replaced the free water taps with few prepaid meter taps.
One of the residents, Sylvia Swartbooi explained that free water has been helpful to them, but now they find it difficult to get access to water since she and her husband are both unemployed.
The family has three children but cannot afford the prepaid water installed some distance from their house.
“Most of us here are HIV positive and on medication. We used to take our medication with water early in the morning and cook a meal because medication requires a proper meal. But now that there is no water, all we take is tombo,” she explained.
“I use to go get water from my mother’s house but the distance is too long. The municipality must return the free water, at least while we are arranging,” she said.
Most of the residents with the same plight, who spoke to New Era, refused to disclose their identity but supported Swartbooi, saying the removal of water taps has made them more vulnerable than before. Contacted for comment, the mayor of Rehoboth, Rudi van Wyk explained that the removal of water taps was prompted by the directive from the rural development ministry received last month, that they must disconnect services due to a high bill the council owes to utility companies.
“NamWater and NamPower are demanding their money during Covid-19. We also have to demand our collection from the community. The rule of NamPower and NamWater that applies to us will also apply to the community now,” he said.
He further explained that the town council did not cut the water, however, they only replaced it with the prepaid meter taps for the community to start buying what they consume.
“Some people are affected because they lost their tokens to buy water during the period they had free water and we the council ran out of tokens. We have received the stock on Friday and by Monday (today) they can buy the tokens,” said the mayor.
He further explained that the council has given the directive for all the free pipes to be replaced with prepaid and if there are areas without taps, he will follow it up.
He added that the council is resolving the erven issue in the town and that they are introducing prepaid mode for both water and electricity.