The National Council Standing Committee on Habitat is investigating drought relief funds allocated to the regions for the rehabilitation and installation of boreholes and water points.
The funds were allocated to all the regions last year through the Office of the Prime Minister, and an instruction was given to the regional leadership on how to deploy the funds and avail potable water for both rural and urban residents.
However, according to the chairperson of the committee, Cletius Sipapela, some regions, including Hardap, which was allocated a total of N$14. 3 million for water provision, failed to deploy the funds accordingly and stalled in the implementation of the project, which resulted in the committee re-visiting the region to investigate the utilisation of the funds.
“In February this year, we were in Hardap and we wanted to see for ourselves how that money was being put to use, as well as how the citizens are benefitting from the resources that were released by the central government,” said Sipapela.
He continued to say that during a follow-up meeting with regional leadership, it was indicated they have not received a clear mandate from the Office of the Prime Minister on how to deploy the funds; however, other regions have gone ahead in deploying the funds to provide water to the inhabitants.
Sipapela thus added that the committee visited the region to assess the reasons as to why it was lacking behind regarding the deployment of the funds. “The indication was that if other regions have gone ahead with providing potable water to the citizens – equally so, Hardap would have received the same communication of the same directive that has prompted other regions to go well ahead,” Sipapela noted.
Sipapela, however, noted that a letter from the ministry of agriculture, stipulating what was to be done and how the funds should be deployed, as well as the prompt utilisation of the funds, was given to the regional council chairperson and the chief regional officer.
Sipapela explained that the regional governor, who was recently appointed, was not informed about the project. “The office of the governor should be informed by the regional council about the funds so that the governor can be in a solid position to report directly to the head of state about the challenges and successes. We are now hoping that the directive given has been followed,” Sipapela added.
According to Simon Dukeleni, Mariental rural constituency councillor, who is also a member of the committee, the region was not ready to implement the funds. “Council took a decision and was primarily advised by the rural water supply on the boreholes in communal areas and that the majority of the communal areas that were identified in Gibeon and Daweb constituencies were not on the list by that time. The engagement has now started receiving attention,” said Dukeleni.