ELAVI – The community of Elavi and farmers of Mangetti West, whose roads were in a shocking state previously, were ecstatic yesterday as the 53km second phase of the gravel road was opened to the public.
The Mangetti West road leading to Elavi and connecting to the Mpungu and Tsumeb roads, was constructed by Namib Beton to the tune of N$60 million. The road, which encored from Onalusheshete village, is connecting to Casablanca on the Oshivelo-Omuthiya road, now making travelling easier and faster.
“Roads will always remain the backbone of a thriving economy. These should be roads that are safe and of good quality standards, where value for money is attained,” said minister of works and transport John Mutorwa.
“It is common sense that a good national road contributes in many ways to the economic social objective. These roads are important as they link producers to manufacturers, who then bring the products to the market, which makes it possible to reach our kitchens in order to sustain ourselves.” Mutorwa said he knows the suffering many communities endure due to poor roads, stating that this specific road was transformed from sandy tracks.
The road was constructed in Nehale Lya Mpingana, which is marred by poor terrain and was only accessible to vehicles with four-wheel drive. Oshikoto governor Penda Ya Ndakolo said poor road networks deprive the community from accessing basic services such as healthcare and education. Inasmuch as he expressed appreciation, the governor once again appealed to government to fast-track road infrastructure in the areas of Okankolo, Eenghodi and Nehale Lya Mpingana, which are the most hard-hit. Mutorwa concurred.
“Before independence, we only had a few main roads connecting crucial towns, but afterwards we started the fight to connect the whole nation. So, the problem we are now having is of feeder roads, where we have to strive to give the nation access to all these national roads for more convenience”, he stated.
“Roads are not only for economic and social purposes, but they unite people. So, I urge all to be cautious and I do not want to hear of people vandalising road signs, as well as road accidents where many people die. Let us be responsible, please,” cautioned Mutorwa.
Roads Authority (RA) CEO Conrad Lutombi said there are plans to extend the Mangetti West road, connecting it to the Chali cutline. The cutline is just across the Mpungu-Tsumeb road.
“This is a stretch of 137km leading to Mururani, then it proceeds to the Kaudum National Park, further to Ncaute, then Ndonga Linena. So, it’s quite a very important route. We will make a plan in 10 years to upgrade to bitumen standard or low volume seal,” revealed Lutombi. “The bidding process is done, but pending finalization. However, we will soon put it on tender and once a contractor is selected, we should be ready to start. This is a very important road.” He said the RA is planning to upgrade the Omuthiya-Elambo (49km), as well as the Onkumbula-Okankolo (68km) roads to bitumen standard. “At the moment, we are busy with the detailed designs of these roads,” he continued.
The councillor for the Nehale Lya Mpingana constituency, Joseph Shikongo, asked government to also help with electrifying schools and upgrading other public infrastructure.
“We are thankful, as this is the only standard road that we have in Nehale Lya Mpingana. So, it is really a relief to our community. However, we still need more of these roads as our constituency is full of sandy patches without access roads,” said Shikongo.