Lüderitz requested to initiate own food bank

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Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Bishop Zephania Kameeta has implored !Nami#nus Constituency Councillor Jan Scholtz to initiate a food bank to alleviate poverty in the area.

Kameeta made the proposal on Saturday when Scholtz briefed him about how the leadership of Lüderitz has been developing means and ways to achieve poverty eradication in the community.

Kameeta encouraged constituency leaders across the country to set up food banks in their respective constituencies and not to wait for the ministry of poverty eradication to open up a food bank as in Windhoek, as this will take a long time given that the process is delayed by red tape.

He further said he would appreciate it if the !Nami#nus Constituency would make a piece of land available for a food bank for and suggested private companies could assist in putting up a structure on that piece of land. The ministry of poverty eradication would then assist in setting up a food bank, he said.

Kameeta visited the 10 hectare agricultural plot set aside for the purpose and applauded the !Nami#nus leadership for their effort to eradicate poverty in the area.

The minister also visited Area 7 informal settlement to look the identified plot where the regional council plans to set up a crèche and clinic.

Kameeta also visited the management of Seaflower Group of Companies and witnessed the handing over of six tonnes of fish from Seaflower to Lüderitz Town Council.

The minister was then invited to address Lüderitz residents during the constituency’s belated 26th Independence celebrations on April 3.

During his trip to Lüderitz Kameeta also visited an old-age home, of which he was one of the founders in 1979. At the time he was a pastor at Lüderitz (1978 to 1981). In 1983 he officially opened the old-age home.

Scholtz highlighted the challenges they face and efforts they made to combat poverty in Lüderitz in line with the Harambee Plan of Prosperity expected to be announced today by President Hage Geingob, and urged leaders to work together to ensure the goals of the poverty eradication policy are attained and even exceeded.

Scholtz said Lüderitz’s vulnerable and elderly residents are now beneficiaries of maize meal being distributed at the town. Currently 800 bags of maize meal are distributed monthly from the !Nami#nus Constituency Office to assist the elderly and other vulnerable groups.

Five soup kitchens in Lüderitz – connected to the churches –provide nourishment to the elderly and vulnerable twice a week, while also aiding the local schoolfeeding scheme.

Efforts towards empowering locals and aiding in poverty reduction, 10 hectares of agricultural land were acquired from Namdeb Diamond Corporation (Namdeb) to be used as a site for a planned agricultural scheme.

On the mass housing initiative, which came to a standstill as a result of a moratorium issued by Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaaningwa, Scholtz said it is expected to recommence soon, but with prices starting at N$400 000, meaning low-income groups will be unable to afford said houses.

!Nami#nus Constituency has also assisted Lüderitz Town Council with the provision of 150 electrical boxes and installed over 90 such boxes in the informal settlement.

Regarding Lüderitz’s economic outlook, the waterfront development is on course and its completion is highly anticipated, primarily due to its potential of providing an alternative to the two retailers present, and completion is expected to drive down prices.

”The community is beginning to feel that the development is not moving fast enough,” Scholtz said. He further indicated Lüderitz is a town hosting many companies that make massive contributions to the national gross Domestic Product (GDP) in  terms of mining, fishing and tourism.

Despite this, unemployment is rife at the harbour town. As with other towns in the county with specific reference to the south, high levels of unemployment have exacerbated the levels of poverty.

“Despite these complications, the local leaders are persistently trying to make sure that wildcat strikes – which not only burden the companies but households and families as well – are minimised,” Scholtz said.

Scholtz added that the regional leadership eagerly supports the planned establishment of a second harbour in Lüderitz at Angra Point. The creation of the harbour would stimulate the local business environment and increase employment directly and indirectly, he said.

“As we are expecting the completion soon of the Aus to Lüderitz railway line right to the present harbour, we also foresee improvement in the local plight. However, despite the fact that Lüderitz is the only harbour town in the south of Namibia, we do not receive the same attention and benefits as Walvis Bay.

Businesses, including fishing companies registered in Lüderitz, are forced to have jetties in Walvis Bay, as diesel and lifting charges by Namport are cheaper,” Scholtz emphasised.

Last December Minister of Works and Transport Alpheus !Naruseb and Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa launched a scheme through which grapes from Aussenkehr grape farms are exported to Europe from Lüderitz.

//Karas Regional Council also has a twining agreement with the Northern Cape. Part of the agreement makes provision for the use of Lüderitz harbor. The further expansion of the harbour would thus greatly aid the economic viability of the town, many locals believe.