News and Information

D-Day looms at Katima
August 3, 2004

THE Katima Mulilo Town Council has been given an ultimatum by bulk water supplier NamWater:make a pre-payment for water or go without.

Corporate Communications Manager Johannes Shigweda told The Namibian that should the council make a payment to the company it would restore the full water supply to the town for a period equivalent to the payment.

The agreement was supposed to come into effect on Sunday.

Shigweda said late yesterday afternoon that NamWater was expecting the Katima Mulilo Town Council to finalise an agreement in Windhoek today.

He said Katima Mulilo had to be treated the same as other local authorities which did not pay their bills, such as Okakarara, whose water has been cut for non-payment and the inability to make a payment to restore the supply.

Karibib has been given the same warning.

Shigweda said it would be up to the councils to decide exactly how much water they wanted to purchase.

Yesterday Town Clerk Agnes Limbo could not say immediately how the council would proceed.

She said an official press statement would be released by Mayor Michael Mudabeti today.

A resident at the town said yesterday that many people believed the town only had until tomorrow to make a payment or end up completely without water.

In recent months, the town's residents have lived with only a three-hour daily supply of water since NamWater reduced the water supply to only 30 per cent.

It decided to halve the supply nearly a year ago because of the millions it owed the company.

By last month, the town's debt to NamWater had soared to N$21,5 million - after having not paid anything towards its account for more than a year.

Katima Mulilo Town Council members were out of town for the whole of last week to undergo training on local governance by the Ministry of Local and Regional Government and Housing in Windhoek in an effort to improve the running of the town.

Paying a courtesy call on Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab on Friday morning, Local Government Deputy Minister Gerhard Tötemeyer said the key issues for local authorities were ethics and the accountability of their administration.

He impressed on the town councillors that the community they served expected good quality service from those they elected to power.

In recent months, the erratic water supply has contributed to growing health concerns at Katima as well as reversing development with both formal and informal business suffering.

Many say the situation has even contributed to poverty with many vegetable sellers unable to water their gardens.


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