Okakarara holds its breath

Okakarara holds its breath

RESIDENTS of Okakarara in the Otjozondjupa Region breathed a collective sigh of relief yesterday when the clock passed 12h00 and their electricity supply still connected.

Last week NamPower gave the Okakarara Town Council until yesterday midday to pay close to N$1 million or face a power blackout. “The deadline was 12h00 but nothing has happened yet, we still don’t know what they [NamPower] they will do,” the town’s Mayor, Tjatjirirani Kandukira, told The Namibian in a telephone interview a few minutes after the deadline had passed.A teacher at the town, Manethe Hambira, summed up the general feeling among the residents.”We are in a confusing state of uncertainty.We had cooked a lot of food in anticipation of the imminent power cut.It [the electricity] is still there, but we are unsure whether it will stay or go,” she said worriedly.Sources at Okakarara told The Namibian that businesses were hardest hit by the uncertainty surrounding the town’s power supply as they remained hesitant about buying stock, especially the perishable goods.”We hear of conducive environments to do business, this one we have at the moment is definitely not conducive,” said one businessman, who preferred to remain anonymous.Should NamPower ultimately terminate its power supply, it would aggravate the crises at Okakarara, which is already grappling with a serious water shortage after NamWater cut its service over non-payment of debts.The Okakarara Town Council is said to owe the two State entities a combined amount of N$2,8 million.The Mayor, Kandukira, said the Council had written to NamPower “to explain our financial situation and ask for more time as we can not afford to pay the money they want at this stage”.He told The Namibian that the water situation at the town remained critical with the Council rationing its remaining water reserve.”We open [the water] in the morning and afternoon only.The idea is to supply for only seven hours a day,” he explained.The crisis has forced the Town Council to enter into a pre-paid agreement with NamWater.This means that the town will now only get the water equivalent to the amount of money they pay.Though the Ministry of Regional and Local Government and Housing has already vowed not to assist indebted municipalities, Kandukira revealed that his Council had met Minister Joel Kaapanda last week to brief him about their problem.”The deadline was 12h00 but nothing has happened yet, we still don’t know what they [NamPower] they will do,” the town’s Mayor, Tjatjirirani Kandukira, told The Namibian in a telephone interview a few minutes after the deadline had passed.A teacher at the town, Manethe Hambira, summed up the general feeling among the residents.”We are in a confusing state of uncertainty.We had cooked a lot of food in anticipation of the imminent power cut.It [the electricity] is still there, but we are unsure whether it will stay or go,” she said worriedly.Sources at Okakarara told The Namibian that businesses were hardest hit by the uncertainty surrounding the town’s power supply as they remained hesitant about buying stock, especially the perishable goods.”We hear of conducive environments to do business, this one we have at the moment is definitely not conducive,” said one businessman, who preferred to remain anonymous.Should NamPower ultimately terminate its power supply, it would aggravate the crises at Okakarara, which is already grappling with a serious water shortage after NamWater cut its service over non-payment of debts.The Okakarara Town Council is said to owe the two State entities a combined amount of N$2,8 million.The Mayor, Kandukira, said the Council had written to NamPower “to explain our financial situation and ask for more time as we can not afford to pay the money they want at this stage”.He told The Namibian that the water situation at the town remained critical with the Council rationing its remaining water reserve.”We open [the water] in the morning and afternoon only.The idea is to supply for only seven hours a day,” he explained.The crisis has forced the Town Council to enter into a pre-paid agreement with NamWater.This means that the town will now only get the water equivalent to the amount of money they pay.Though the Ministry of Regional and Local Government and Housing has already vowed not to assist indebted municipalities, Kandukira revealed that his Council had met Minister Joel Kaapanda last week to brief him about their problem.

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