Water woes continues in Walvis Bay

PUBLISHED 6 APR 2021   

Water woes continues in Walvis Bay where residents and business in the harbour town owe the municipality N$300 432 404.

Anita Kaihiva, communications officer has said that this amount includes the current debt of  N$38 million which was due by 7 February 2021, reported the Die Republikein.

“A high proportion of our consumers are employed by the fishing industry. Most are seasonal workers whose income fluctuates. We are also dealing with Covid-19 and many have lost their jobs. This situation affects our debt management position.”

Kaihiva further noted that a high percentage absentee landlords in areas such as Langstrand and Dolphin Beach settle their accounts infrequently.

Outstanding

As at 7 February, water debt in the respective areas is as follows:

• Walvis Bay - N$119 722 536

• Meersig - N$16 379 426

• Narraville - N$22 753 20

• Kuisebmond - N$83 101 662

• Tutaleni - N$13 169 203

• Langstrand - N$14 419 886 and

• Dolphin Beach - N$30 886 491.

Factors

Kaihiva said that various factors including water leaks influence the accumulation of debt.

“Each case has its own merit and is dealt with individually depending on arrangements and other factors.

“Due to Covid there have been no cut-offs since March 2020. We recently notified all residents whose accounts are overdue that disconnection of outstanding municipal accounts will commence. Rate payers are requested to pay their accounts or make suitable arrangements to avoid their services being disconnected. Residents who need to make arrangements can contact our Credit Control Division at (064) 2013226 or 2013318 or 2013392,” Kahiva advised.

The Walvis Bay municipality also announced an interest amnesty period applicable from 23 February 2021 to 31 December 2021.

“The interest amnesty is aimed at assisting customers who are struggling to settle their municipal bills. It is not aimed at writing off customers’ capital debt but rather to pardon accrued interest.”

Community activist Ryan Gordon said that it is heartbreaking to hear and see that the water supply of some residents has been cut off.

“There are residents who want to pay their water bills, but simply cannot do so because they have no source of income.”

He said that they are trying to provide relief by filling 25 litre bottles with water and handing these out to people whose water has been cut off.

Gordon said a request was forwarded to the municipality to meet some residents halfway.

“The amount owed to the municipality by some is huge (between N$15 000 and N$25 000). The residents feel that some of these water bills need to be written off. All we ask is that they look at installing prepaid water meters and if possible, write off all or 50% of the water debt owed by pensioners. The other 50% can be recovered by deducting N$15 from every N$100 when those who are in debt buy water.”

Gordon also encouraged those that can make payments, to do so. “Pay what you can so that the municipality sees payments are being made, no matter how small.”