• July 9th, 2020

Gochas yearns for development

Hilma Hashange 

The lack of road infrastructure in Gochas in the Hardap region is hampering tourism activity in the small village. The village, situated about 100 kilometres south-east of Mariental, is the gateway to the Mata Mata border post. However, 30 years after independence, major road infrastructure is still lacking in the sleepy village that has about 500 inhabitants. 

Although the village receives a significant number of tourists, it mainly only has gravel roads, which are not yet upgraded to bitumen level. According to the chairperson of the Gochas village council, Lisma Swartz, upgrading the gravel road that travels to Mata Mata border post to a tarred road will bring about significant changes to the village.  

“So far, the people are crying for the tarred road because at the moment, the road runs through Stampriet but it never reaches us here in Gochas through to Mata Mata, even though we had put in our request. You will not believe how many tourists we receive, which is good news to Gochas,” Swartz said.

Swartz thanked the government for constructing the tourism business park, popularly known as the Gochas Business Park, which she says is a good initiative. She added that the business park, which serves as a stop by for tourists travelling to and from the Mata Mata border post, is not living up to its full potential because of a lack of tarred road leading up to the border,  situated 182 kilometres from Gochas. 
The park, which was constructed by the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, consists of trade and SME facilities such as a media lab, a coffee shop and accommodation rooms, as well as a supermarket market, amongst others. 

“We are thankful for the business park; we, however, expected Gochas to become a vibrant and lively village and act as a solution to unemployment but as you can see, the place has become dormant, which should not be the case because the SME facilities are still empty – even though people are aware of what the park offers,” said Swartz. 

Swartz said anyone willing to trade at the park can register with the Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA) in Mariental. NIDA is the state-owned agency under the ministry of industrialisation that manages the business park

Infighting among the community and the leaders is also another aspect that deters potential growth in Gochas. This, according to Swartz, should come to an end. “We want development but at the end of the day, we are the ones that break down things. This should come to a stop if we want our village to upgrade to a settlement. The government does not have patience with us; we do not finish our projects on time and want to jump to another project, so the projects that are currently approved and budgeted for should first be completed,” Swartz encouraged.

She also advised the community to stop vandalising property that was built to help them, noting that toilets have to be constantly renovated because of the damage inflicted by the community. She, therefore, urgently appeals to the community of Gochas to stop bringing down the efforts made by the government to grow the village. 

Staff Reporter
2020-03-24 08:06:36 | 3 months ago

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