Witvlei Village Owes N$4 Million

THE Witvlei village could be plunged into darkness if the council does not settle a N$500 000 debt owed to NamPower, the chairperson revealed yesterday.

Speaking from the small village in Omaheke Region, the chairperson, Livey van Wyk, said apart from NamPower, her village also owes NamWater, Social Security Commission, the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF), medical aid service providers, and the Ministry of Finance, among others.

She said the village owes debtors a total of N$4 million: N$2,4 million to NamWater N$36 000 to GIPF N$97 000 to finance, N$360 000 to medical aid and an undisclosed amount to other debtors.

“The council is knee-deep in debt. We have tried negotiating with NamPower but they call us on a daily basis because of the debt,” said van Wyk. “If we do not honour our debt, they can cut off electricity,”

Van Wyk said the debts had already accumulated when she took over in 2010.

“We cannot even pay the back pay of the workers or provide the much needed development in the village,” she added.

According to Van Wyk, she had tried to consult the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development for assistance but to no avail.

“I have tried to inform (through various letters) them of the debt that was already in existence before we took over. I consulted them because I needed to know what kind of ship I was commanding but they avoided me. Whenever I go into the village, I see poor people. People, who deserve better services,” said van Wyk, adding that she could not even go into town anymore because the situation is said to be an eyesore.

She said the ministry gives a subsidy of approximately N$177 000 on a quarterly basis, which is used for operations and salaries, while the money collected from clinics, abattoirs, and schools keeps the small village afloat.

“I plead with the ministry to bring to task those responsible for the debt that we now have to clear. We do not want them to get rid of our debts, we just want to work together to find an amicable solution to this problem. We cannot be ignored,” said van Wyk.

The council has allegedly come up with capital projects, which Van Wyk said were rejected by the ministry because the village was accused of mismanaging funds.

“If the ministry admits that there is a mismanagement of funds, why not bring those who are responsible to book? Why do we, the new council, have to take responsibility for these debts,” asked Van Wyk.

Speaking to The Namibian yesterday, the head of the local authority department, Lameck Uyepa, said the council is responsible for its own debts and they are supposed to collect revenue from their client services to meet financial obligations.

“The ministry is giving subsidies to all village councils, including Witvlei council on an annual basis,” said Uyepa.

Financial aisor to the ministry Olavi Iita said the allegations that the ministry had not been lending a helping hand were not true, “These are projects of national concern and we have no power to shoot them down”.

“There are several projects that have been approved and the records are available to prove that. It was always up to them to implement these projects,” said Iita.

Source : The Namibian