Some residents in Ndama informal settlements of Rundu in Kavango East say they are tired of having no access to water. They also blame the Rundu town council for not providing them with development in their communities, stating they sometimes go thirsty for three or four days and are forced to pay N$5.00 to fill any of their containers or drink dirty water from Kansukwa, a nearby water stream.
According to the residents, for over 18 years they have lived without water, and some resort to getting water illegally.
Theresia Hamutenya, a resident in the Ndama says her 82-year-old mother Petra Singongo, died of an unknown illness in July this year but she believes could have been caused by dehydration or hunger due to lack of water in their areas.
“My mother was very old and couldn’t fetch water from her neighbours or somewhere because we have no water here. I remember how she died that day, she told me she was thirsty, and then I took a container to walk miles to get water for her, but by the time I returned home, I found my neighbors and children crying that my mother has died. When we went to the hospital I asked for a post-mortem to tell us the cause of her death but I was told she was too old to be operated on. Up until now I just tell myself it meant have been that she died of being thirsty and unhygienic,” she told Eagle FM.
She urged the regional council to find a solution and provide them with water. Some residents have water meters but no water.
Hamutenya also claimed with little access to water, residents have to choose between bathing, drinking, or cooking.
Simon Johannes, chairperson of the residents in Ndama told Eagle FM that clean water for some residents is very expensive.
“We are living like foreigners in our own country. We don’t stay far from town, but if you see the conditions people are living in here you will be shocked. Children go to school hungry, with unwashed uniforms. Many residents here are poor they cannot afford to pay for water, the elders here look very unhealthy and this is because they have no access to clean water.”
Hamutenya also added that some babies in the area suffer from diarrhea because they are also forced to drink dirty water.
“We carry water on our heads and it’s a big challenge to most elderly people we need access to clean just like any other person in this town.”
Rosalia Ndeshi Nanghuti, an ordinary member of the Rundu town council says a motion on Ndama location water scarcity was raised as per standing rule and order of the local authorities Act 1993 Act no 23.
According to her, the council is aware that people in Ndama are drinking contaminated water and the council is not doing anything about it.
“The water that these people are drinking is from Kansukwa and is not clean water. The water is bringing many diseases to the community. Therefore I am not going against the council but things need to be done accordingly. The council has to address the lack of basic services such as water and electricity in the informal settlement.”
Informal settlement represents a challenge for the new elected authorities. With the new local government structure in place since 1992. The statistics of this new informal residential areas. Hopes and expectations to be recognized by government and to be provided with more service. Meanwhile during the month of September last year the Rundu town council owned Namwater about N$ 124 million. The town also accumulated debts of close to N$60 million in 2018.