Katutura pensioners urge CoW to write off their debt

The Katutura Residents Committee on Thursday said the City of Windhoek (CoW) is “selfish and inhuman” because it allegedly refuses to heed their call to have the debt of pensioners who demonstrated in June, written off.

Speaking at a press conference in Windhoek on behalf of the pensioners, Benestus Kandundu said the CoW is failing to meet their needs in terms of high water and electricity debt even after the peaceful demonstration held on 27 June 2023.

The pensioners, during their peaceful demonstration through Independence Avenue to the CoW headquarters, demanded that their debt be written off, stressing that they are unable to pay off their accumulated water bills after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reading a petition on their behalf, Kandundu said the pandemic had a devastating impact on pensioners, and the majority are left with substantial amounts of water debt. This has resulted in CoW disconnecting their water and electricity, as well as contracting Red Force debt collectors to recover the debt from the pensioners.

“On 19 July 2023, Windhoek Mayor Joseph Uapingene stated that he would come back with an answer for us within two weeks and in his defence, he stated that we must be patient as there will be peace soon. We made it clear that we were not there for peace but for solutions. We are not only asking our debt to be written off but also to negotiate on the amounts that we poor residents of Katutura can afford for the water that has been cut off even when our electricity is paid for,” the newly appointed Katutura Residents Committee spokesperson, Shaun Gariseb, said.

The group said if they do not get a satisfactory response, they plan to hold a demonstration on 06 September 2023. They will then hand over another petition at the CoW and proceed to the offices of Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni to seek an audience.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency