Gobabis in frequent black-outs

GOBABIS: Industrial developments and the rapid increase in the population of Gobabis continue to cause a strain on the municipality’s delivery of basic utilities such as water and electricity.

The town has over the past few months been plagued by constant power interruptions lasting between four hours to almost two days. Frequent water interruptions, often lasting an entire weekend, have also been experienced at this eastern town.

Last week was amongst the worst in terms of power supply interruptions, as power outages were encountered almost every day.

Vital services such as the hospital, police station and a few others were at most times spared from the power interruptions, largely due to alternative power supply sources such as generators mounted at these institutions.

Many large businesses such as banks, supermarkets and petrol stations were also forced to run on alternative power supply for the better part of last week.

However, the power shortages have grounded several activities of various Government ministries and agencies, as staff members were unable to attend to their daily tasks.

Contacted for comment, the Gobabis Municipality confirmed its weak capacity to adequately cater for the entire residents. Municipality Public Relations Officer, Frederick Ueitele told Nampa on Saturday that most of the electricity cables and other vital infrastructure at the town are under constant pressure to contain the population, while it also experience extensive wear and tear.

“Most of our underground cables are worn out. We have been trying to fix the problem for a long time now, but we are yet to find a permanent solution to the crisis. This is due to the unexpected surge in the town’s population over the past five years or so, which continues to put pressure on the supply of basic services,” he said.

Residents at the town have raised concerns over the municipality’s lack of communication on expected power interruptions, accusing the municipality of not being sensitive to their needs.

“One would expect the municipality to at least warn us in advance that there is going to be a power supply interruption, as they know of such interruptions well in advance. They hardly communicate, even to provide information on the progress and when we can expect electricity to be restored,” said Mike Uamunika, a resident of the Epako residential area.

Ueitele, while admitting that the frequent power supply interruptions do cause some inconvenience, noted that the municipality tries its best to keep clear communication channels with its customers.

The increase in the population of Gobabis is mainly attributed to the roll-out of Government’s policy of decentralisation, as more ministries establish offices at the town. Coupled to this is the transfer of personnel from other towns to run these offices.

A business boom, which led to the establishment of a bigger mall – the town’s second – is also said to have contributed to the pressure on the provision of basic utilities.