Friday 18 June 2021
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Rundu – Namibia’s garbage town?







Residents of Rundu say they cannot live like animals after complaints of illegal dumping sites and lack of refuse removal concerns continue to be ignored by the Rundu Town Council.
Several spots in the town are used by residents to get rid of their unwanted dirt, waste and rubble.
Residents say despite sending their complaints to the town council, they have not received any joy – even after they were promised that the situation will change-adding that the council only prioritizes cleanliness on the face of the town and not the off the main road.
During a drive through the town over the weekend, The Patriot observed a rather clean entry into the town. The cleanliness is observed around the heart of the town, particularly around the shopping malls along Eugene Kakukuru Street.
But the inner streets portrays a different image, that of heaps of garbage and what seem to be new dumpsites just alongside the roads and adjacent to homes in the residential areas.
The residents say they have long informed the council but their complaints continue to fall on deaf ears. One resident accused the council for not being true to its mandate saying they only clean to show the visitors what is not the true image.
“The fact that it is only the main roads that are clean means the council is not honest in its mandate. They will only clean when there is a big event where a minister or the president will be attending but the rest of us must live in dirt when we pay rates and taxes,” said Reinholdt Kampungu, a youth activist from the town.
Kampungu said cleanliness at the town has been a concern that the authorities at the council are familiar to but refuse to act on. The residents want the town council to improve the pace at which waste contractors collect refuse in and around town. He says the town’s failure to do this for the past years is slowly turning the whole town into a dump site.
Uncollected refuse gets blown around by the wind, making the streets an eyesore. The town council is accused of awarding waste collection tenders to incompetent people, with allegations that the tenders are sometimes given to companies without any  logistical capacity to do the job.
“The tenders they award to their friends to clean the town are a waste of money because it does not reflect in the image of the town. We do not all live in the heart of the town but we pay our monthly tax. Yes, the center is clean, but who are we fooling knowing very well that the rest of the town is dirty?” queried the activist.
“Last time we saw the town a little bit clean was when they held the Swapo CC meeting at the town. So you get to understand that we just want to look clean to the visitors but please visit the places where the people live and see the real situation.”
All People Party’s Secretary General Vincent Kanyetu has long criticized the council for not only failing to keep the town clean but involving the residents. He says the town council has failed to involve the residents through consultations and placing them on the forefront of keeping the town clean
“We tell these people that the best way to keep Rundu clean is to involve the people. We now know that these cleaning tenders they give to their friends are not producing the results.
We should now approach the people of Kaisosi to clean Kaisosi and those of Kehemu to clean Kehemu,” he said.
“We have long told the council about adopting a people-centered approach not in only cleaning the town but other developmental aspect but they see this as a political agenda,” he added saying council should do away with trying to impress visitors when things are not actually well.
Questions sent to the town council through its public relations office this week were not attended to by the time this publication went to print.

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