OPUWO – The Kunene regional leadership has bemoaned the lack of implementation of capital projects in the region, accusing implementing agencies of bureaucracy and disregard for regional development.
They also expressed dissatisfaction over the new procurement system which they say although it was implemented with good intentions, it has derailed development partly because of its complexity and lack of training to those entrusted to implement the new system.
These sentiments became apparent when the National Assembly Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration visited the region on Monday. The committee is currently visiting capital projects under its mandate in the regions of the Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Kavango East and West and Zambezi as part of its oversight function.
Capital projects such as the construction of the aerodrome, rehabilitation of government garage and meteorological services and the maintenance of roads and ICT infrastructure were assessed by the committee in the Kunene Region where it was found that many of these projects, that have been previously budgeted for, have either not started for many years or have totally been neglected.
According to the two special advisers to Kunene regional governor, Katuutire Kaura and Moses !Omeb, who represented the governor during a courtesy call that preceded a meeting with representatives of line ministries, many projects are either pending or have been completely abandoned.
“Nothing has been happening with the Aerodrome that has been budgeted for, for so long. If you go there, you will only find bushes. Our home affairs building has been abandoned halfway through including a youth centre building that was demolished due to sub-standard workmanship,” complained Kaura.
Chairperson of the Kunene regional council and councillor for Sesfontein constituency Julius Kaujova echoed similar concerns noting that often times the regional council bears the brunt for non-implementation of projects while in reality it has no control as project implementation was a centralised function.
“Not even de bushing has taken place at the Aerodrome site even though the executive director was here and he promised to do so. At the end of the day, regional council is blamed for non-implementation of projects while they are run from Windhoek,” complained Kaujova.
Kaujova was further not happy with similar abandonment of ongoing projects in the region. He singled out a high school in Opuwo that was earmarked for upgrade as well as an advanced home affairs building construction that has since halted due to lack of funds and a moratorium on the awarding of new tender contracts that was instituted by the Ministry of Finance and the National Planning Commission.
“The Moreti High School upgrade initiative even resulted in the fencing of the school and was planned to start as far back as 2014 and also appeared in the MTEF. The Home affairs building construction was stopped in 2017. No one came to inform us about all this. When we asked, we were told its due to a moratorium but construction has been going on in other regions,” stated Kaujova.
Another concern raised by the leadership included the continued closure of an abattoir by the meat corporation company (Meatco) they say has adversely affected livestock marketing. The Kunene Region is estimated to have a population of over 100 000 cattle.
The committee is chaired by Heather Sibungo. Other parliamentarians that are part of the visits include Annakletha Sikerete, Loide Shinavene and Elifas Dingara.