RESIDENTS of Groot Aub are yet to receive electricity as the City of Windhoek has decided to fully implement a takeover of the area’s grid after 11 years.
The settlements of Brakwater, Döbra and Nubuamis have similarly been waiting for electricity supply for the past 11 years.
The city council recently approved the first step for the municipality to start negotiations with NamPower and other private entities to completely take over electrical infrastructure.
According to the council’s agenda, Windhoek’s electricity department has several times attempted to initiate taking over the electrical infrastructure of these settlements since 2011.
“These attempts were not successful, as the current electrical infrastructure owner [NamPower] requires appropriate compensation for asset alienation to the council,” the agenda reads.
Groot Aub community activist Cecil Titus said about 20% of the area was connected to the power grid under the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development and the Khomas Regional Council.
However, after the City of Windhoek took over the settlement they were forced to steal power from each other, because the municipality has not put up power lines, he said.
“It started with the Khomas Regional Council to electrify [Groot Aub] via the NamPower installations done in around 2000. Under the development plan, a percentage of the community got electricity to their households, and there are some street lights in the main road,” he said.
Titus said the development of the settlement stopped when the municipality took ownership of Groot Aub, adding that school children currently do not have access to light to study in the evenings, and parents who commute to work have to get up in the dark.
“The community is growing, and people need housing. [They are] now tapping electricity from house to house.We understand this is not allowed, and it can be dangerous for our community,” Titus said.
He said the community has no other option. Titus said NamPower has previously offered to connect houses to the grid for N$4 600, but would still need the permission of the municipality to put it up.
The city has recognised that this situation has frustrated the residents of Groot Aub, since they are sent from pillar to post between the Windhoek Municipal Council and NamPower’s offices, he said.
Earlier this month, the council gave the municipality permission to make funds collected available towards network contribution for the takeover of assets.
“ … to be paid by the council in addition to any secured loan, the Electricity Control Board (ECB) tariff collection provision and grants,” the agenda stated.
This would, however, be subject to council approval once each settlement’s asset valuations and negotiations have been completed.
The council then wants a clear indication of the financial implications, including internal resource requirements, in a phased approach as proposed. During the first phase the city will take over the operations and maintenance of the electrical infrastructure at Groot Aub, as well as all other municipal services. The city’s plan is also to take over the electricity infrastructure at Brakwater, Döbra and Nubuamis, which currently belong to NamPower.
This will involve phase two.
This next phase includes the takeover of private entities, such as Finkenstein Estate, Omeya Golf Estate, and other areas under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Council of Windhoek.
“The negotiating team should thus consider flexible payment terms to avoid huge upfront capital outlay for asset compensation in negotiation with NamPower and other private entities,” the council’s agenda reads.
The city will appoint independent consultants to carry out asset valuations under the department consultancy operational vote for the 2022/23 financial year, subject to budget approval.