Rehoboth Baster Community

Schlip Got Water ‘For Free’

Published by Aug 05, 2004

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Residents of Schlip owe the country's water utility millions of dollars.

Schlip is a private settlement south of Rehoboth, which, according to the Republican Party’s executive secretary, Carola Engelbrecht, who attended a meeting at the settlement recently, is about to have its water disconnected.

The settlement does not fall under the Ministry of Regional and Local Government and Housing’s jurisdiction and for the ministry to pay for the water would be tantamount to making an illegal transaction.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Frans Nghitila, told New Era yesterday that the issue had been ongoing for some time and that the ministry had left the matter for the residents and the regional council to settle with Namwater.

He said ministry officials visited the settlement last year to discuss the matter with the residents although it was not within the ministry’s declared responsibility.

Engelbrecht said there were two groups of residents in Schlip “those staying on government land who had water, and those on private land who had no water.

Before independence, Engelbrecht said, an individual was entrusted with the responsibility of collecting the payments from households to pay the water utility. She further said that after independence, there were no accounts reflecting what amounts had been paid by the residents and that no bills were sent to them.

She said that residents became so comfortable that they established gardens thinking they were getting free water.

“They are being charged for it but there is no accounting system for the water,” said Engelbrecht.

The residents have since consulted lawyers to take up the matter and have also started negotiations with NamWater.

She blamed government officials and political parties, which had not informed people about their responsibilities to pay for the services provided to them.

“Suddenly people realise there are economic rules that need to be obeyed. They have been misguided and now they are confronted by the harsh realities of life,”she said.

The RP is helping the residents negotiate and Engelbrecht feels the residents are in a predicament that is raring its ugly head every time.

“How can anybody with responsibility allow people to collect debt when they can hardly afford a living,” she said.

Some people at Schlip are settled on private land that was allocated to them by private individuals. The area has a school and a clinic.

Source: NewEra