Rundu Town Council Loses N$3 Million to Vandalism and Theft

Rundu Town Council

Rundu, Namibia
– The Rundu Town Council has reported significant financial losses amounting to approximately N$3 million in the 2023–2024 financial year due to rampant vandalism and infrastructure theft, according to Town Engineer Sakaria Shopati.

Sakaria Shopati

Shopati highlighted that despite the council's ongoing efforts to upgrade the town's service infrastructure, these attempts are being severely hampered by the actions of some local residents. 

"It's quite a challenge; the community is stealing manhole covers and selling them to scrapyards, and this is causing people to deposit unwanted materials in the system, such as bones, plastics, and debris. It is now blocking the system. They are also stealing things such as the electrical cables and capacitors in the pump station," he explained.

Rundu has been grappling with sewer-related issues for years, and recent improvements have inadvertently provided new opportunities for theft. 

"We had a situation whereby one of the pumps was stolen. So such theft means that now it has caused a delay in the implementation and completion of the project, and obviously it brings about unwanted situations such as sewerage overflowing into the public. Things such as a small pump station and a lifter station, which cost us N$150,000, were stolen," Shopati added.

The engineer emphasized that upgrading and rehabilitating the town's infrastructure is crucial, but the destructive behavior of some residents is setting back these efforts.

 "The theft-related incidents of infrastructure have cost the council about N$3 million. We are talking about extension eight. The electrical cables and all the components of the kiosk, as well as the copper and stuff, were already estimated at N$1.5 million. You know the project was completed at phase one, and by the time we moved to phase two, almost everything was gone," he lamented.

These incidents are becoming increasingly common in Rundu, adding to the town council's financial burden. "People are also stealing water meters; some are cutting the water pipes. It's not only theft; it's also vandalism because when you cut a pipe, we must come and dig the leak and find out this is cut here and then replace and all that, so it's really causing delays in the council's attempt to bring about services," Shopati noted.

In addition to these challenges, Rundu residents collectively owe the Town Council N$370 million, further straining the council's resources. Despite these setbacks, the town council remains committed to improving the town's infrastructure and services, albeit at a slower pace due to the ongoing issues of theft and vandalism.
Karrel Hamutenya

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