ROOIBANK – The Topnaar authority, a community indigenous to the banks of the Kuiseb River of Erongo region, has been asked to use its dividends from tourism activities and fishing quotas to construct decent accommodation for themself. There are about 300 Topnaars households living along the Kuiseb River with no access to most basic necessities, sans for the tap water. Yet the traditional authority has direct ownership in fishing quotas, in partnership with various private entities, and generate other income through its tourism activities and other tourism concessions in the region.
“My wish is to see brick houses here. Why should our people be condemned or confined to corrugated homes only? Until when are they going to live like that? Although some would say this is culture, these houses do not resemble cultural houses at all,” said Governor of the Erongo region, Cleophas Mutjavikua.
Although the Topnaars live 40 kilometres from Walvis bay, the households sustain themselves through subsistance farming with small stock, augumenting the income with the selling of !nara plants.
Mutjvikua who was speaking at the official launch of the Kuiseb Delta Concession at Rooibank on Thursday. He said, the Topnaar traditional authority and elected leadership must see to it that the living conditions of the community drastically improve as they cannot continue living in dilapidated corrugated iron houses.
Mutjavikua said that it is time for the Topnaar leadership and trustees to be transparent in terms of finances and include the community at all levels to avoid only a few individuals from benefiting from developmental activities or fishing quotas granted by government to the Topnaars.
“Serious efforts should be made to ensure that the Topnaar people have houses constructed with bricks and other durable material. Social development and employment creation is one of the main reasons government has entrusted this concession to the Topnaars. On top of that, Namibia’s natural resources should be aimed at addressing unemployment and the leadership must see too that it happens,” Mutjavikua explained.
He then said proceeds from concession rights and dividends from fishing quotas, combined with other resources from the government must be used wisely and should in fact be used to construct such homes and send some of the Topnaar youth to university.
“Whatever income that is generated, must benefit everyone and not just a few individuals. Those dealing with the trust must be transparent. People must be aware of what goes on with regards to their finances.
He also told the Topnaar Trust to open its books for scrutiny by members of the community and they should also avail financial records every year to the community. It is necessary for the community to understand how much money is generated and what it was used for, instead of being kept in the dark. We must not only feed the people but we must use the money to send our children to universities. I am aware that some of the Topnaar children do very well at school and therefore I would like to see engineers and doctors from this community. Let us also cater for their education,” he said.
Chief of the Topnaar community, Seth Kooitjie said funds were already availed for educational training programmes in areas such as computer literacy and hospitality, while further assistance was extended to specific community members who want to obtain driving licences to become tour guides.
New Era Reporter
2014-09-02 08:51:48 4 years ago