Community demands services

28 November 2018 | Local News

The residents of Rundu continue to express their disappointment and frustration towards council, which is accused of failing to provide basic services.

Rundu is one of the larger towns in Namibia in terms of its population, currently at about 90 000, however, the residents are forced to endure many challenges which keep piling up.

Ewi lyaNooli has observed how the town has turned into a dumping site as heaps of filth are scattered all around.

Apart from the filth, Rundu is known for its water problems where the residents are used to being without water for days. However, government recently inked a deal with NamWater to allow for residents to have uninterrupted supply for the next couple of months.

The situation has also led to residents resorting to collecting water from the Okavango River at times to survive while hoping the situation will be rectified.

Rundu town council owes NamWater about N$60 million.

The residents have also expressed their frustration towards council, which is accused of not availing serviced land. This, the residents say, has led to the thousands of people living in various, and growing, informal settlements.

Ewi lyaNooli this month witnessed how residents petitioned the Kavango governor, Samuel Mbambo, regarding the situation in Rundu.

The norm is that residents normally petition the local authority but this time around they demanded that the president's appointee look into the matter and assist them in getting their issues addressed.

The issues highlighted in the petition pertain to poor water supply, refuse removal, poor road infrastructure, a lack of street lights and slow development.

“The lack of adequate water supply has also affected the overall hygiene of residents, and businesses have made great losses while children missed school time. The state of the affected hostels is simply inhumane, cruel and unusual,” the petition to Mbambo read.

“The Rundu town council has violated our very dignity.”

On the issue of refuse removal, the residents of Rundu say they are fed up with paying every month for a service which council does not provide.

They further expressed their dissatisfaction towards council regarding the bad road infrastructure saying that vehicle owners spend a lot of money on repairs which arere caused by the humongous potholes.

Regarding the street lights, the residents say it is a matter which has been ongoing for a long time. Some streets have been without lights for years which they believe puts their lives at risk especially at night.

“Another long-standing issue is that some streets have no lights. The majority of lights that do exist are not working for years. This jeopardises our safety as residents and promotes criminal activities,” the petition read.

The residents also used the opportunity to bemoan council's slow pace of developing the town saying that large parts of the town is not surveyed.

The concerned residents also blasted council for not having its own offices as they continue to rent buildings from the works and transport ministry.



The demands

In the petition to Mbambo, the residents indicated that they want his office to engage central government to bail out Rundu town council from its N$60 million water debt with NamWater.

They further demand that NamWater to be entrusted with the distribution of water to the residents and not council.

“It has become abundantly clear that only is NamWater reliable for the distribution of water, it was also discovered that their rates are much more affordable and acceptable to the people of our town,” the residents demanded.

“As such we move that this mandate be removed from town council and offered to NamWater as part of the solution to our long-standing issue of water supply,”

The group that protested said they were left with no choice but to approach the governor's office.

The deadline set for feedback is 31 January 2019.

Mbambo, upon receiving the petition, assured the town's residents that he will relay the letter to the relevant offices.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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