Governance

PDM’s Dienda supports permanently writing off water debts of all LA’s

Summary

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) member of parliament (MP), Elma Dienda, on Tuesday supported a motion tabled in the National Assembly to have all water debt owed by all local authorities in the country be written off by NamWater. The motion […]

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) member of parliament (MP), Elma Dienda, on Tuesday supported a motion tabled in the National Assembly to have all water debt owed by all local authorities in the country be written off by NamWater.

The motion was tabled by Landless People’s Movement (LPM) MP Henny Seibeb in the National Assembly where he said debts owed to NamWater stand at N.dollars 1,4 billion, of which N.dollars 600 million is attributed to local authorities.

He said especially government ministries, offices and agencies owe high amounts in water bills to local authorities.

In her remarks, Dienda said: “Water is life and government has an obligation to provide its citizens with it. Accessing water continues to be a big challenge for many Namibians living in low-income communities and rural settings.”

She said the right to water has not enjoyed independent recognition in Namibia as a human right because it is interrelated to other human rights such as adequate standard of living, adequate housing and the right to health but water is a fundamental right for Namibians as provided for by the Namibian Constitution under Article 6.

Writing off water debts she stated has been practised by various governments in Africa where residents are unable to settle high water debts.

“South Africa’s biggest municipalities such as the City of Johannesburg and the City of Cape Town last year wrote off water debt of N.dollars 2 billion,” she said, adding that it is high time that municipalities, town councils and village councils in Namibia start showing the aspect of humanity.

Showing that government cares for its people should be practised.

Meanwhile, economic analyst, Josef Kefas Sheehama, dismissed the proposal by Seibeb to permanently write off the water and electricity debts of local authorities as unsustainable and unrealistic for both utility companies and local authorities.

He said this will encourage municipalities and ratepayers not to pay bills, deepening the malaise in the respective State Owned Enterprises already saddled with bad debt.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

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