Gobabis elderly want utilities' debts written off

24 Feb 2014 12:00pm
GOBABIS, 24 FEB (NAMPA) – Elderly citizens who have defaulted on their payments for water and electricity with the Gobabis Municipality could soon have such debts halved, or entirely written off.
This will be the case if the chairperson of the Omaheke Regional Council (ORC), Ignatius Kariseb succeeds in his efforts to alleviate the burden of the debt trap which the majority of elderly citizens find themselves in.
Many elderly citizens owning houses in Gobabis’ Epako residential area are said to have defaulted on their payments for water and electricity, which prompted the Municipality of Gobabis to hand them over to attorneys for the recovery of outstanding monies.
Elderly citizens told Nampa during a community meeting here on Sunday that more than half of the N.dollars 600 pension grant goes directly to settling municipal accounts and attorneys’ fees, leaving them with virtually nothing to live on for the month.
Kariseb told a packed Epako Community Hall that he will do his best to have the elderly people’s debts written off or reduced, as most elderly citizens can simply not afford to settle such debts whilst still making payments on their current utilities’ usage.
The ORC councillor said he will also dedicate his efforts to ensuring that those who have their accounts handed over to attorneys for defaults be relieved of attorney fees by returning the collection of such accounts to the Gobabis Municipality.
“Most of our old people’s names are at attorneys simply because they could not afford to settle their water and electricity accounts with the municipality. This is absurd, because the very same people now have to settle their outstanding accounts and still pay exorbitant attorney charges,” Kariseb noted.
He said the writing-off of accounts for the elderly is nothing new, as it has been done in other towns across Namibia.
In light of the zero increase on State pensions for the elderly, the municipality would thus seriously have to consider the writing-off of such accounts, the councillor added.
A meeting to discuss the issue is already lined-up with the relevant authorities this week.