Pensioners at Keetmanshoop in the //Kharas region owe the Keetmanshoop municipality about N$6,8 million. Keetmanshoop mayor Maree Smit said pensioners’ debt stood at N$6 794 130,23 by the end of October this year.
Smit made the remarks during a press conference held on council resolutions on Wednesday.
The Keetmanshoop municipality is currently conducting an audit on all the different categories of debt, and pensioners are one category that requires serious intervention.
“Council obtained a list of registered pensioners from the ministry of labour, as well as a list of deceased pensioners from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security that will be used during the verification processes,” said Smit.
The mayor said family members are reluctant to inform the council when a pensioner is deceased due to the benefit of reduced pensioner tariffs.
To address these matters, council approved an amnesty period of four months from 1 December 2021 to 31 March 2022 for family members to register all deceased pensioners owning properties at Keetmanshoop.
From the date of registration, the council will write off the debt of deceased pensioners and subsequently de-activate their municipal accounts. However, the municipality is yet to seek approval to write off the debts of the deceased from the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.
“That council approves the application to the ministry to seek approval to write off the debt of deceased pensioners,” said the mayor.
A database will also be created to register all living pensioners currently owning properties at Keetmanshoop, while in future, municipal accounts will be created in the name of appointed executors or responsible persons appointed by the family under oath on date of registration.
Council also resolved to re-allocate Outelein, units which are still in the names of deceased persons, and those not being used as the primary residence by beneficiaries. Those with paid-up accounts now have an opportunity to buy their units from the municipality.
Outelein units are municipal houses used from the apartheid era to house pensioners.
“The Keetmanshoop municipality urgently needs to implement practical strategies to manage the existing debt caused by the non-payment of rent and services rendered,” said the mayor.