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Road delay could scupper school construction

2022-02-22  John Muyamba

Road delay could scupper school construction

SATOTWA – Works minister John Mutorwa is fighting to ensure that construction work at the Satotwa Primary School is not hindered by the lack of an access road to the site. 

The Chinese government made aid available for the project, and requested the Namibian government to ensure there is a gravel road for their trucks to be able to deliver construction materials. Mutorwa said the road to link the school should be urgently constructed through emergency procurement.

The Chinese government, through the economic and technical cooperation agreement signed with Namibia in 2018, will construct two fully-fledged hostels and classrooms as well as teachers’ accommodation at the Satotwa Primary School in the Mankumpi constituency and the Simanya Combined School in the Mpungu constituency. 

The construction is planned to start at the beginning of April.

“This councillor phoned me last December that the Chinese delegation is here at the Satotwa village with officials from the National Planning Commission,” Mutorwa said last week when he, works ministry staff and Roads Authority (RA) officials went to familiarise themselves with the terrain.  “The councillor said they are looking at the site where the hostels, classrooms and teachers’ accommodation will be constructed. They are happy that they will be able to execute their assigned responsibilities in terms of the agreement within the specified time. But they then checked the status of the road. The road is sandy, and they were therefore concerned, and want government to do something about it,’’ he added.

Mutorwa stated during the briefing that his ministry cannot say that they have not budgeted for the road and thus can’t attend to the demand.

“Even if we say that, it is not helpful at all. So, the Namibian government is saying here and now that as the ministry responsible for roads and the agencies Roads Authority and the Road Fund Administration, we must see what it is we can get so that we are not going to be blamed that this government of Namibia failed to do a road of 28km,” he stressed.

The 28km stretch is along the Charly Cutline in Kavango West, which is also encompassed in the plans to be upgraded to gravel as it is currently sandy and tough to drive through.

“It is very urgent so that the Chinese cannot report that Namibia could not provide us with a road, and therefore we cannot construct the school. You saw those children there, so comrade chairman, I have consulted with my colleagues both in the ministry before coming here, no excuse is acceptable. Even if we don’t have the money within the works ministry and its agencies, this is a government project, otherwise we will be laughed at,” he noted.

Mutorwa told the Satotwa community that his ministry and the RA have taken due consideration on the importance of the rural schools project. 

“On that basis, kindly be assured that the RA would be in a position to mobilise and employ a contractor to open up the road and put a single gravel layer to make the road fairly accessible. This is the commitment that was given, which is a non-debatable commitment. We have committed our government that we will do this by way of an emergency,” he continued.

2022-02-22  John Muyamba

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