Residents of Gobabis owe municipality N$50 million

Residents of Gobabis owe municipality N$50 million
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Gobabis residents owe the municipality about N$50 million in unpaid municipal bills, its chief executive officer (CEO), Ignatius Thudinyane said.
The town has about 25 000 inhabitants, of which 8 000 live in informal settlements and 17 000 in the formal section.
Thudinyane, while addressing the media on Monday, said the town’s municipality has a record of 5 000 account holders out of the 17 000 with only a limited number who settle their municipal bills.
“The residents who are located in the informal settlements do not contribute to the council revenue as they are not billed for the municipal services provided, a situation which contributes to the municipality’s financial unsustainability,” Thudinyane said.
He said the town has fewer people who are able to pay for their municipal bills because of the high unemployment rate, with a 43% of youth unemployment, constant job losses and a fair number of residential erven owned by pensioners less.
“The accumulating debts result in the lack of service provision and disconnection of services”, Thudinyane noted.
In effort to combat debt accumulation, Gobabis municipality listed a number of measures to yield possible solutions and increase municipality revenue, including billing informal settlement residents, introduction of the Flexible Land Tenure System (FLTS), which is a concept to provide affordable security of tenure to inhabitants in informal settlements introduced through the Flexible Land Tenure Act No.4 of 2012.
Other measures, which are currently at work, include the transfer of the Road Camp area to the municipality, which will enable the municipality to charge residents for municipal services.
Road Camp is a residential area that was set up by the Ministry of Works and Transport to accommodate construction workers during the construction of the Trans Kalahari Highway, it is not in the municipal area and therefore residents do not hold municipal accounts.
Thudinyane also pointed out the urgent need for job creation in Gobabis, saying the town has great business growth potential. He, however, expressed dismay towards the current land allocation process, noting that the long waiting period between the initial land application and the actual land allocation holds back potential land developers and investors.