RUNDU - The Rundu Town Council has no money to pay employees’ salaries, acting CEO Sikongo Haihambo told New Era yesterday. The council employees were supposed to get their salaries on 25 September but are still without pay. “I’m currently in a meeting and it’s true about salaries, but we are trying to see if we can resolve that issue fast. We are hopeful and positive that our salaries are going to be paid within this week because it’s very difficult for one to be without a salary,” confirmed Haihambo.
Haihambo also confirmed that he is informed that there are some residents of Rundu who are not making it any easier for the council to generate revenue from water and building plans, as people are building without approved building plans and some have illegal water connections.
“They are not making it easier for us, especially with these illegal water connections. I’m in a meeting with my executive committee and we are discussing how to resolve this issue. We are going to move towards action but I’m just reflecting as you may have picked up these illegal water connections not only involve certain community members but also some council staff. This practice is rampant and we have a lot of work to do,” Haihambo added. Although council has not declared bankruptcy, New Era has been reliably informed that council is financially on its knees and broke and this has impacted negatively on service delivery. The council is also unable to pay its debt with the water utility, NamWater, which has ballooned though it partially blames residents engaged in illegal water connections for its current financial predicament.
Residents spend most of their days without water, and the issue of water taps running dry has become a norm.
“We may buy water but the quantities that we get through our taps that are connected legally is little as some goes to these illegal water connections and some we lose through leakages of worn-out pipes. Besides, those residents who connect illegally don’t use water sparingly, as they know they won’t pay. So, most of the water is wasted in that way,” said the acting CEO.
The Rundu Town Council has a negative cash flow and is not in a position to take out a loan as it could be taken to the cleaners in no time if it took out a loan and defaulted on repayments.
Haihambo’s role as the acting chief executive officer role was effective from 1 September 2018 to 28 February 2019, New Era was reliably informed that none of the senior officials had wanted to act.