Windhoek shelves security levy idea

August 3, 2015, 9:05am
Image: Namibiana.de

Windhoek shelves security levy idea

 
DESPITE an unfavourable response from Windhoek residents on the implementation of a security levy, the municipality maintains that it will go ahead with such plans.

The municipality is proposing that residents should pay N$50 per property a month, while businesses and other properties will pay N$100 per month. There are 38 817 residential properties and 27 807 businesses in Windhoek, which means that the municipality would collect close to N$5 million a month.
Pensioners and people with disabilities will be exempted from paying the security levy once it is implemented.
Currently, residents are paying for solid waste management, water basic and water consumption, refuse removal, property tax, sewerage and electricity for those who do not use pre-paid power.
During its council meeting on Thursday, the municipality presented a progress report on the request for the introduction of the security levy, and ultimately its implementation.
Council minutes indicated that the introduction of the levy was not well received from many corners of the city, causing council to postpone it to the 2016/2017 financial year, while calling for public participation and public governance.
“Moreover, during the media conference held in February 2015, the levy was also discussed and it attracted more negative comments towards the envisaged idea of consulting the public and further introduction of the levy.” the minutes indicated.
Council then proposed a familiarisation visit of local authority councillors to the City Police department to acquaint themselves with police operations and needs. After that, regional councillors and central government political principals would follow.
When The Namibian broke the story in February, various comments on social media criticised the move, saying the municipality should stop imposing fees on people.
Others questioned why crime prevention should be an additional function when in fact it should be first priority.
Council argued that there was no financial provision made in terms of the Police Act for additional functions such as crime prevention, thus council has to finance some operations from its own sources.
It further stated that since the establishment of the City Police, they have played a major role as far as road safety and crime prevention are concerned, saying this went beyond the expectation of everybody and calls for their services have increased drastically.
“In order to financially sustain the City Police, the chief executive officer was directed as per council resolution 27/01/2004 to introduce the security levy as a revenue source to partly finance policing operations,” read the council minutes.
Expenditure resulting from the function performed by the City Police is currently not recovered through a dedicated tariff and places an enormous financial burden on council finances.
The minutes also indicated that the City Police with relevant internal stakeholders should arrange consultative meetings with all residents to discuss the proposed levy for the provision of crime prevention services within the municipal boundaries of the City of Windhoek.
Council minutes of February also noted that should the security levy be implemented, its introduction will reduce the budget deficit.
In February, City Police chief Abraham Kanime said the security levy will assist with the recruitment of 80 more officers and purchasing of more closed circuit television cameras to help them combat crime.

By Tuyeimo Haidula: The Namibian