The anticipated establishment of an electricity supply and distribution company for the southern regions has raised the ire of residents, who say they were not consulted.
Local authorities and regional councils in the Hardap and ||Kharas Regions are expected to own shares in the company through the transfer of their electrical network assets to the company.

Infuriated residents from Mariental and Keetmanshoop protested against not being consulted, saying they fear the development will result in higher electricity tariffs.

Mariental residents held a protest march under the banner of the Mariental Residents Association (MRA).

"Desist from signing over municipal assets, which by extension belong to the residents of Mariental, to another entity without first engaging in extensive public consultation and obtaining the approval of residents," said MRA Chairperson Werner von Watzdorf.

Mariental protestors also called for an investigation into alleged corrupt practises at the municipality.

Moreover, they appeal to the municipality to prudently use money generated through electricity sales and to settle its N$116 million NamPower debt. 

Cherien Kock, Mayor of Mariental, received the protestors' petition.

"I have heard your concerns; we will discuss it at council level and give feedback to you, but since many of our local residents are not members of MRA, we will call a community meeting where feedback will be given to you."

Protestors at Keetmanshoop called for intervention from President Hage Geingob and the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni.

"Our biggest concern is that we were never consulted in the initial process of the establishment of the company as the first stakeholders as end-users of the electricity. We are buyers of electricity, and the leadership has the first responsibility to consult the community before such consultations are done. We are being used by our own leadership to be sold out by our own votes," said group spokesperson Vernon Coleman.

Their petition was received by McDonald Hanse, the Mayor of Keetmanshoop.



Luqman Cloete