Businessman Knowledge Katti has announced this week that he decided to write off all the historical debts for water and electricity owed to the owners of the Kombat settlement by all its residents.
Katti is the force behind Grove Mining Namibia (Pty) Ltd. Unlike other settlements, towns and cities in Namibia, Government through its local authorities does not administer Kombat.
Katti announced the move in a media release this week.
“A society of home owners is a descent society with restored dignity and a sense of belonging,” Katti said.
In the past, the settlement was owned and managed by foreign mining companies that were managing the mining operations in the area.
This was a similar scenario, when the then private town of Oranjemund was run and managed by the diamond mining company Namdeb and its predecessor CDM (Consolidated Diamond Mines).
“While we are currently in charge of the water and electricity supplies – we urge government to get involved and take over these basic supplies via Censored and the regional council – Namwater and Nampower,” he said.
He emphasized that Grove Mining Namibia (Pty) Ltd is committed to attract investment to the town and region.
“In this context, the Kombat Community Trust, which was established as part of Grove Mining’s corporate social responsibility arm, has been considering ways and means to assist the residents of Kombat to access quality services such as water, electricity and sanitation in order to improve their living conditions. It is for this reason that a decision was taken to write off all historical debts for water and electricity of all residents of Kombat up to 30 December 2016,” he said.
The total debt written off amounts to more than N$400 000.
“We do not regard this as a loss, we see it as our contribution to assisting and lessening the socio-economic burdens faced by the members of this community, in light of high unemployment levels”, Katti said.
He further explained that from 30 December 2016, all debts for water and electricity for all residents of Kombat were forgiven, and a new billing cycle began as of that date. In other words, from 30 December 2016 residents of Kombat started from a blank slate in terms of their bills for water and electricity.
According to Katti, the company is busy reviewing different investment proposals including blueberry farming and others that will create jobs for the community. The objective is to create jobs that will allow them to build homes in the area. Elderly residents of Kombat, who were asked to share their views on the interventions, praised Katti for the intervention.
“I have lived in Kombat for more than 25 years; I have never seen anything like this. I am speechless,” said an elderly man who identified himself only as Uncle Simon.
“This is a great relief that will go a long way in enabling us to take care of our families better. I don’t think you can find such generosity anywhere. We are truly blessed.’’ These were the words of one long-standing resident at the settlement.
Grade 6 scholar, Selma Fillipus was quoted saying, “I feel happy because at the time our parents had no jobs and they could not pay the money they owed and now that the electricity is not so high, they can provide more for us like food and warm water.”
This generous act resonates with the three arms of The Knowledge Foundation, which was founded by Katti in 2008 namely, healing hands, open minds and brick by brick.
Katti also revealed that Grove Mining is exploring the best avenue to donate the Kombat Primary School building and the land on which it is located to the learners of the school via a School development Trust, with the trustees being appointed by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture. “The objective is for the learners to lease it to Government – the income derived can be used to cover the needs of the learners as they arise.”
The decision to donate the land and buildings is also extended to the Kombat Clinic through the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
Katti concluded by saying, “Today is a great day for Kombat and for the residents of this settlement,” he said.