Bethanie residents owe council N.dollars 7 million

13 Jun 2017 17:50pm
BETHANIE, 13 JUN (NAMPA) – The Bethanie community owes its village council over N.dollars 7 million for water, electricity and basic services.
The council meanwhile is paying off overdue debt of N.dollars 3,5 million to the Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower) and N.dollars 1,2 million to the Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater).
The village late last year narrowly escaped a blackout when NamPower demanded upfront payment for longstanding debt.
During a visit to the village late last week, Chairperson of the council Aletha Frederick told Nampa Bethanie’s financial situation is due to limited revenue from a community plagued by unemployment.
The village’s allocation from the //Kharas Regional Council last year also shrunk to N.dollars 4,5 million from an original N.dollars 7 million, while it was reduced to N.dollars 3 million for the current financial year.
With this money, the council plans to build 66 toilets for villagers without access to sanitation and some houses on the last available serviced land to lease out to residents.
The general prospects of the village of around 3 000 people remain poor.
“With the lack of serviced land, it is hard for us to attract investors who will create employment for our young people. The biggest source of income here is the pension grant,” Frederick said.
She added that a planned industrial park was also put on hold by the Namibia Development Company because of limited funds.
“We however plan to approach investors to help us develop camp sites just outside the village,” she said.
Like many other places in the country, the village also struggles with alcohol abuse.
Councillor Conrad Beukes said a lack of recreational and leisure facilities hamper the constructive occupation of young people.
“We are in the predicament of being unable to dream as we are constantly occupied with the provision of just basic services,” Beukes lamented.
At least, so far, approximately 90 per cent of the village’s residents are connected to the water and electricity network.
“We keep negotiating with them to pay for services and we hope it can improve while we work on plans to connect the rest of the residents,” the village’s acting Chief Executive Officer, Michael Menatzick said.
Bethanie has been without a permanent CEO for more than a year and they are hoping to fill that position soon.
“Not having a CEO is quite challenging. We have recently submitted the name of the recommended candidate to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development following interviews and are awaiting an answer,” Frederick said.