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Namibia: Mariental Informal Settlers Bemoan Poor Service

WHILE development booms at Mariental, there are some informal areas where there is no running water and sanitation.

The people said they felt neglected since the local council has failed to render basic municipal services such as water provision, refuse collection and sanitation to them.

Resident Johannes Aifete said the council hardly collects refuse in their area, expressing fear of a possible disease outbreak because their area is soaking in filth everywhere.

“Although we pay for municipal services, they are not cleaning our area. We are suffering a lot here in Mariental. Our children are playing on waste heaps,” said a visible angry Aifete.

Aifete also bemoaned the lack of water services and serviced plots, demanding that council connects water supply to their shacks and sell plots to the landless.

“They must give us water and serviced plots,” said Aifete, adding he has “no clue” why council is failing to render basic municipal services to them.

Another resident, Maria Shamba, said those living in the area are forced to go to the bushes when nature calls because they do not have any toilet facilities at their houses.

“We only go to the bush. There are no toilets here,” Shamba explained.

The Mariental Civic Association on its Facebook page last week posted photos of waste littered everywhere in the area to expose the poor service delivery at the town.

The civic association last week gave council a week to clean up the filth in the area or face unspecified actions, according to one of its affiliate members who preferred not to be named.

The council’s chief executive officer, Paul Nghiwilepo, yesterday rubbished claims that council has failed to deliver basic services, saying the dirt in the area is caused by ‘illegal dumping’.

“They are talking out of ignorance,” Nghiwilepo remarked, adding that the illegal dumping has become a burden for council.

“It costs council time and money to clean up the illegally-dumped rubbish in the area,” said Nghiwilepo.

According to Nghiwilepo, council operates on a pre-planned schedule to collect refuse throughout the town.

“We have even placed rubbish containers in the area, but they just dumped their waste everywhere.

We have even gone to the extent of giving black plastic refuse bags to the residents,” said Nghiwilepo.

Nghiwilepo admitted that shacks located in the area in question are not connected to the town’s electricity, sanitation and water systems. However, he was quick to say it is because people living there, are “squatting” illegally on municipal land.

“We have connected informal settlements such as Takarania to the town’s electricity, sewerage and water grids.

Our aim is to formalise all informal settlements at the town,” Nghiwilepo added.

Nghiwilepo denied that council has received an “ultimatum” from the local civic association to clean up the filth or face unspecified actions.

Nghiwilepo urged those residents who have illegally occupied municipal land to approach council to look at ways to redress their water and sanitation problems.

“We’re here to deliver services, therefore we cannot deny residents basic municipal services,” said Nghiwilepo.

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Namibia: Mariental Informal Settlers Bemoan Poor Service
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