Angula threatens city with sit-in demo over residents’ debt

FED UP … Some residents of Windhoek yesterday took to the capital’s streets, demanding that the City of Windhoek gives them a reprieve on rates. They also want the city to dump debt-recovering agency Red Force Debt Management. Photo: Henry van Rooi

Independent presidential candidate Ally Angula is threatening to hold a sit-in demonstration at the offices of the City of Windhoek if the municipality fails to address Katutura residents’ concerns over its debt management.

She has given the city a week to respond.

Angula, who attended a protest by katutura residents yesterday, says the municipality is continuously failing to listen to residents’ concerns.

“This is a battle that has been coming for a very long time. To see old people coming here and not being respected by the City of Windhoek and the chief executive not being here to listen to the concerns of the residents is very disheartening,” she said.

Residents protested at the municipality’s customer care centre at Katutura yesterday, where they demanded the cancellation of high municipal fees and called for the removal of RedForce Debt Management as a debt collector.

Top officials failed to attend the event, despite being notified of it, since they are currently at Swakopmund for a five-day budget planning session.
Of those invited, only ombudsman Basilius Dyakugha was in attendance.

Angula yesterday said she would mobilise the youth and hold a sit-in demonstration until top municipality officials, including chief executive Moses Matyayi, address the Katutura residents’ concerns.

“In the next seven days, if those responses [from the City of Windhoek] are not to the recommendations that have been made, we will come here with young people, and we will sit here until you respond to the residents’ concerns,” she said.

Angula said the municipality is continuously charging high fees, which the elderly residents cannot afford. “You are charging this for services and infrastructure that had been installed in the pre-apartheid era. Please take our voices very seriously, we are not playing around this time,” she said.

The group of residents addressed letters to the City of Windhoek, the Office of the Auditor General, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Namibian Competition Commission the Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.

Ally Angula

They are rejecting the 50% debt cancellation offered by the municipality and are calling for the removal of their councillors, whom they say are not attending to their needs.

Benestus Kandundu, the chairperson of the Katutura Residents Committee, yesterday said the municipality has been evasive and only responds via vague media statements.

He pointed out that municipality officials chose to travel to Swakopmund on the day of the protest.

“The mayor and councillors are disrespecting the Katutura people. This is the same City of Windhoek that has been applying delaying tricks and tactics.

“We gave them the letter two weeks ago. Did they not have time to sit and talk about arrangements on how to receive us today?” Kandundu asked.

The group of residents refused to hand over their petition to anyone other than the municipality’s top management.

Meanwhile, municipality spokesperson Lydia Amutenya yesterday said they received the notice of the protest late.

“Their notice came after the planning and logistical arrangements had already been finalised for our strategy review and budget planning, and this was communicated to them,” she said. Amutenya said the municipality hosted its budget planning meeting at Swakopmund to obtain renewed perspectives.

“By convening in a different setting, away from the routine work environment, participants can engage with a renewed focus and perspective.

“While mindful of the council’s financial position, it is essential to prioritise the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of the strategic planning process for the City of Windhoek,” she said.

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