CoW plans to electrify 4,000 informal settlement households

Martin Endjala

The City of Windhoek (CoW) municipal council has greenlit a plan to provide electricity to approximately 4,000 households within Windhoek’s informal settlements from 2023 to 2028.

This five-year electrification initiative is an expansion of the prior plan that spanned 2017 to 2022. Since 2017, the city has been on a mission to electrify homes in these informal settlements, successfully making 3,515 service connections in areas like Otjomuise, Havana, Goreagab Dam, One Nation, Okahandja Park, Ongulumbashe, Babylon, and Kilimanjaro.

City Mayor Joseph Uapingene announced this new development during a regular council meeting held the previous week.

He said that the electrification projects between 2017 and 2022 were financially backed by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development and NamPower, attracting a total capital investment nearing N$45 million.

Uapingene specified that the proposed electrification will predominantly cover demarcated plots within these informal zones.

“These sectors were pinpointed in collaboration with the Department of Housing Property Management and Human Settlement, aligning with the Development and Upgrading Policy,” he said.

The execution of the 2023-2028 plan is projected to require an annual budget ranging from N$15 million to N$20 million.

In related news, Uapingene reiterated the council’s stance regarding a petition from the Katutura Residents Committee, which called for the discontinuation of RedForce Debt Management CC.

He defended RedForce as a cost-effective solution for the city’s debt collection, emphasizing that while the city imposes a 20 percent annual interest on overdue amounts, RedForce only charges 10 percent on the amounts received.

He pointed out that before RedForce’s engagement, debts were transferred to attorneys, a procedure which was not only costlier but also lacked any financial benefit guarantees for the city or the debtors. In contrast, RedForce only bills 10 percent of the actual payments made to the council.

Furthermore, Uapingene clarified that pensioner accounts are exempted from being handed over to RedForce. Also, no interest is levied on accounts managed by RedForce, with the sole exception being a collection fee equivalent to 10 percent of each payment.

The mayor disclosed that CoW is in the process of drafting a proposal to absolve pensioners’ debts and waive interest for all residents. Yet, this procedure will be approached with prudence to ensure sustainable outcomes.

He stated that while the council is consistently exploring diverse debt management strategies, it remains bound by legal directives, including the Prescription Act and the interest stipulations as per the Local Authorities Act.

“Hence, the city isn’t in a position to suspend interest on overdue amounts,” he said.

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