By: Leonard Haufiku
A couple living in Ondangwa since the late 70s say they have been treated unfairly as they pay nearly N$3,000 municipal fees more than their neighbours.
For the past five years, Ndemuweda Shapange (82) and his wife, Saima Shapange (70), say they have been paying the Ondangwa Town Council a cumbersome amount of money under the “rates” fee.
They have, however, disputed the rate as they claim they live on an unserviced piece of land.
Shapange moved to Ondangwa in 1979 and has been living on the erf since then. He acquired water in the same year through the old colonialism government. After independence, the water bill moved to the Ondangwa town council.
Currently, their monthly rate is N$2521.81 cents. This does not include water, refuse removal and interest. On a monthly basis, they fork out about N$3100-3200 to the Ondangwa town council.
“In 2016, a drastic change came with the water bill. Because of this, the rate fee amounted to N$1,733. Mind you, this did not include the interest fee of N$51.38, refuse fee of N$93.00, water basic for N$49.00 and then the water fee itself, depending on how we have utilized the water that month,” Ndemuweda lamented.
The rates have been increasing years since then.
After seeking answers from the Ondangwa town council, both from then local councillor Andreas Kalumbu, and the CEO, on why their municipalities bills were so high, they were informed that the reason is because they are on business zone, hence the high tariffs. They said they were informed that the rates are consistent with other business rates.
Ndemuweda has questioned this as the area in which they reside is a residential area and not a business location. They further said that they are the only ones who pay such high rates.
The couple says they have struggled to pay their monthly bills as they are both pensioners. Ndemuweda’s wife Saima sells items at the local market, which is how they have managed to keep up with the soaring bill, however, they say after paying the municipal bills, there is barely anything left for food and other upkeeps.
“Mind you, we are living on unserviced land. We sourced for electricity to get to our doorstep. We paid for a sewage truck to come pump the manhole for the toilet when necessary.”
Efforts to get answers from the Ondangwa town council proved fruitless.