Disgruntled Okahandja residents on Friday took to the street to demonstrate against poor service delivery that has been haunting the ‘garden town’ for a long time.
A petition signed by more than 150 aggrieved residents demanded transparency with regard the town’s finances and for explanations on past audit reports.
“Once considered the garden town of Namibia, Okahandja has now been downgraded to an unnatural,unhygienic state, with over 10 sewerage ponds overflowing, thus reducing the environment into a breeding ground for bacteria and diseases,” the petition read.
The residents also decried the lack of equitable infrastructure that, at the moment, needed to absorb the expanding population in the town.
According to the petition, the lack of strategic plans in the municipality for the expansion and growth of the town is a challenge and thus makes service delivery very poor.
The petition reads: “Our roads infrastructure can be compared to villages and rural areas. Our roads have potholes, and deterioration is an understatement,” while demanding transparency for the procurement committee.
“We demand transparency in our procurement committee. The community needs to be involved and informed about the tender process to ensure fairness and accountability when service providers fail the community.”
The residents further cautioned municipal officials over the misuse of municipal vehicles, saying that the municipal vehicle fleet must not be used for anything else other than work purposes.
“There is no measure in place to monitor how they are used and what they are used for, and proper measures must be put in place immediately.
“The municipality of Okahandja and its management committee lack loyalty and accountability. The management committee still needs to prove competency to our people,”the petition read.
The community pressed the Council to provide a five-year integration development plan, a performance review from each head of the department, and an infrastructure development plan that is specific to each location within the town.
The Council was given a seven-day ultimatum to respond to the petition as failure to do so might result in the temporary closure of the municipal chambers.
“We are therefore giving the Municipality a request to respond within seven days. We want our concerns to be heard and we demand answers as residents of Okahandja. We are ready as the residents to shut down the whole municipality operations in the absence of a response from the management. No one is above the law, but we are the payers of rates and taxes and demand that our needs are met as soon as possible,”they said.
During the petition handover, Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development Natalia /Goagoses implored the town’s Chief Executive Officer to put his house in order, thus fostering robust working relationships with the councillors in order to execute the council resolutions extensively.
/Goagoses noted that the ministry is cognisant of the finite infrastructures, a scenario she said is troubling most towns, while urging the resident to honour their municipal debts to allow for growth in revenue and for better service delivery.