Although in office for only for six months, !Nami#Nus constituency councillor Suzan Ndjaleka is confident that the constituency can aspire to greater heights. New Era’s Steven Klukowski sat down with her last week.
SK: What are your future plans for the !Nami#Nus constituency in terms of development, unemployment, poverty, health, education and a lack of investment challenges?
SN: Currently, there are a lot of incomplete and half-completed capital projects in the constituency, budgeted for under the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF), on which I cannot really comment. In terms of employment creation, I can gladly announce that the manganese mining project exporting ore from the Lüderitz harbour to international destinations has created some employment for residents, although not sufficient. On the issue of education, our constituency is fortunate to implement a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics training programme under the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation for the youth as well as learners, which in turn will provide mapping opportunities in the areas of tourism, entrepreneurship and skills innovation. My office is also constantly engaging the fishing and mining sectors in town on possible employment opportunities, and has created a database of all unemployed residents, which we submitted accordingly to these employers. With regard to health, we are experiencing a shortage of medical doctors and nurses, but have taken this challenge up with the regional health directorate, and are furthermore encouraging our learners to study further in these fields. There is huge potential and appetite for investments, but this will require proper planning and strategies to attract such investments.
SK: How does the !Nami#Nus constituency benefit from the national conservation parks in your area?
SN: The current concession rights will be expiring very soon. But my office will engage all relevant stakeholders to gain maximally from these parks in terms of tourism activities generating income.
SK: How does the uncertainty in terms of the regional political leadership, with the regional council which operated without a management committee for five months and furthermore some political party squabbles, affect your constituency?
SN: It is having an immense impact on service delivery to our residents and those of the region as a whole. No recommendations can be endorsed by the regional council in the absence of a management committee, causing a huge backlog on the implementation of proposed developmental programmes. We all trust that the regional political leadership can resolve the current, worrisome political dynamics soonest.
SK: Serving on the ticket of Swapo, how is your working relationship with other political parties in your constituency?
SN: Fairly well. We have no personal issues with each other, and are pulling the wagon together as a team, only focusing on delivering the best of services to all our citizens.
SK: What is the future for fishermen in Lüderitz, as big guns like NovaNam and Seaflower are not doing so well, seen in the recent economic, political and health climate?
SN: Following stakeholder consultations, it has been resolved around the table that these companies do not foresee any retrenchments. They are still committed to ensure employees’ job security under the current circumstances. Plans are in the pipeline to increase production in order to create more employment.
SK: What are the challenges your office is experiencing, bearing in mind that you have not been in power for a long period, with the development of the constituency and the implementation of planned activities?
SN: As we are all aware, Covid-19 has brought most activities to a halt. Thus, the availability of resources to implement projects and programmes aimed at addressing socio-economic challenges will remain our main obstacle. In addition, my office has a staff shortage and lacks opportunities for staff development and training. We are, however, making prudent use of the scarce resources available.
SK: How is the Covid-19 vaccination programme in !Nami#Nus running, and what are the challenges?
SN: It started very well with the support of the local taskforce committee, but misinformation on social media platforms is affecting the turnout of people to get vaccinated. We are, however, encouraging people to follow the health protocols, namely the washing of hands/sanitising, wearing masks, maintaining their social distance, and trying as far as possible not to attend big gatherings.
SK: Anything else you want to mention in conclusion?
SN: Yes, I want to call on all residents in the constituency, irrespective of race, creed or political affiliation, to stand together, joining hands so that we can carry each other through these difficult times.