This week New Era broke the news and published a front-page scoop on the water crisis at Rundu. Rundu has a debt of N$60 million with the national utility, NamWater, and residents of the town unfairly endure painful water rationing every other week that lasts for several hours a day.
The Rundu Intermediate Hospital, which serves thousands of people at the town, is affected and boarding schools as well as several secondary and primary schools have not been spared. About 86 000 residents of Tutungeni, Queenspark, Milleniumpark, Rainbow Village, Safari, Nkarapamwe, Donkerhoek, Old NHE, Ndama, Kaisosi, Sauyemwa, Kasote, Sikanduko and Tuhingireni are affected.
Equally hit is the Rundu Unam Campus, the Rundu Police Charge Office, the Rundu Vocational Training Centre, shopping malls, 25 government schools, 11 private schools with a student population of 29 610 learners and five clinics while many businesses are also in limbo. The situation is compounded by unflushed toilets that have increasingly become a health hazard.
The provision of water is a human right and there is no compromise when it comes to this commodity that each and every person needs for hydration and hygiene. In fact, experts recommend that each person needs 50 litres daily for drinking, cooking and bathing.
Rundu’s escalating water crisis is quickly becoming a potential health risk that could hasten the spread of bacterial and other diseases that thrive under such unhygienic conditions. Hospital patients are at a great risk of contracting deadly secondary infections.
The multitudes of people flocking to the river to swim and to wash dishes puts them at risk of drowning or being caught by crocodiles lurking under its surface.
This distasteful status quo started sometime last year. The mess that Rundu is entangled in is indeed a serious problem calling for capable leadership and a timely intervention.
Rundu, like other towns facing a similar predicament, is simply a microcosm of a bigger issue.
It shows the extent of the rot at town council level where ineptitude and incompetence has become the norm and unfortunately it is just business as usual. The deadwood responsible for causing such mess are not held to account and they continue riding the gravy train drawing fat salaries. A lot of officials mask their incompetence by hiding behind a challenging and volatile global economy.
We know there is a core of hardworking officials who know what they are doing. But Rundu should come up with a proper debt management plan instead of begging for a multi-million-dollar bailout from government through the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development. Town administrators should be innovative. They should formulate workable strategies to mitigate water and other crises. The practice of allowing officials to run to government to ask for bailouts should be discouraged because it seems like it has become the easiest way out for incompetence. The nation is tired of so-called ‘turnaround strategies’ – it needs efficiency, service delivery, simple and klaar.
We need innovative administrators with medium and long-term visions and who have proven problem-solving skills. It seems ‘turnaround strategy’ has become synonymous with failure.
New Era Reporter
2018-11-02 10:17:11 9 months ago