Residents of Gaborone North are complaining about a host of services they say are not being extended to them.
The residents say roads in their area that are not tarred; there are no street lights; a poor sewer system and the absence of a water connection.
They say this situation has persisted despite assurances that it would be cleared up.
There is also concern about the landlord’s distribution of water at a cost, saying that it appears Piara Sighn-Chana, their landlord, is taking this situation as a business opportunity and so water connection might take longer than promised.
They said when buying the plots, they were not told that water connection would be at their expense, only learning of the matter after they had bought the plots. Now they are told they have to pay for connection per square meter.
Contacted for comment, Singh first denied knowing anything about the plots and claimed that his brother had all the information needed but that he was however out of town until the beginning of April.
Later, he admitted to being the landlord and assured the Sunday Standard that water would soon be connected. He said some places had water because they were closer to the road, where the main pipes to draw water from lie.
Admitting to distributing water to residents at a cost, Singh explained that he draws water from Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) and was permitted to do so. He said the sewerage system is currently being worked on and would be functional soon.
The Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Robert Masitara, said he is aware of the situation and worked on it with the residents to try and help them. He explained that the situation was not an easy one since the land is private and so the government needs to intervene for the people to get the help they are seeking.
Masitara said he was pleading with the government to help but explained that it was not an easy task.
“I really feel sorry for the youngsters in the area who are popping out money as investments and are being ripped off,” he said, adding that, like the rest of the residents, he was confused as to why the government receives rates from the residents if they are not getting services from Gaborone City Council.
Commenting on the matter, Gaborone City Council Town Clerk, Seeletso Lekgaba, explained that the rates are not a service levy but were for owning property.
She said the service the GCC offers the area is collection of litter once a week, adding that while the council does service private places, financial constraints that beset the GCC have affected the services expected from them.
WUC Public Relations Manager, Matida Mmipi, explained that the situation in Gaborone North is beyond the mandate of her organization.
“As per its mandate, Water Utilities Corporation does not do land services,” she explained, adding that land owners are responsible for the servicing of their own lands.
Mmipi further explained that the WUC held meetings with the landlords and residents advising them on how to best ensure availability of water in their area. Following this, the farm plots towards Mmamashia settled for bulk supply through a standpipe.
“There is no further internal reticulation network in the area,” she said, adding that the logistics of sharing water within the area and payment for it were left to the residents.
In turn, WUC gets payment for its bulk water supplied to residents through a community standpipe. Mmipi was not aware of the landlord’s arrangement of water supply, but explained that nobody but the WUC was allowed to sell water.