WINDHOEK – There is an urgent need for a bigger airport at Oranjemund to accommodate more visitors.
Since Oranjemund has been proclaimed an ‘open town’, there is a higher demand and need for more buildings and facilities at the airport to accommodate the public, including visitors, people from various sectors and tourists.
This was revealed by National Assembly Swapo member, Leevi Katoma last Thursday when he motivated the report on the oversight visits to assess security at airports and aerodromes in Omaheke, //Kharas and Hardap regions recently.
Katoma is the chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs, defence and security.
He said proclamation of Oranjemund as a town and local authority in August 2011 demands the upgrading of the airport.
Oranjemund airport is a privately-owned airport and solely managed and maintained by the diamond giant Namdeb.
Part of the building is hired to Debmarine Namibia diamond mining company operating offshore. The airport is open to the public for landing and taking off and is busy as it accommodates about 1 500 passengers per month. On the security situation, the committee found that rigorous safety and security controls are applied at the airport, which they say are commendable.
They observed high-tech safety and security and crime prevention technology and equipment, including sniffer dogs provided by Namdeb and Debmarine Namibia which are used at the airport.
The Namibian police also receive most of its resources and equipment assistance from Namdeb.
However, Katoma noted the committee was informed about the immigration control challenges at Oranjemund airport, in particular clearing of aircraft and vessels, at the airport and offshore within Namibian waters.
The committee found that occasionally vessels are anchored offshore for three to four months. As a result, immigration officials are flown in from Oranjemund to clear the vessel crew and employees.
According to the report, some immigration officials lack swimming and survival skills, thus comprising their safety.
The committee was informed that immigration officials have to take part in the training offered by Namdeb.
However, they do not receive danger allowances, despite the fact that they are exposed to danger at sea.
The parliamentarians were also informed about the shortages of air traffic controllers at Lüderitz and Oranjemund airports.
Another concern was that landing fees or levies were not being collected at the airports and aerodromes visited.
The committee was informed that only the port of Lüderitz and port of Walvis Bay are gazetted as ports of entry in terms of the Immigration Control Act, Act No 7 of 1993.
“The matter is of serious concern in that there is a need to clear persons at offshore Oranjemund, although not gazetted. Furthermore, there is also no specific official stamp to clear persons offshore Oranjemund, as it is not a port of entry. Instead, immigration officials are using the official stamp of Oranjemund border post,” the report shows.
They parliamentarians revealed that when they were passing Oranjemund border post gate, an official raised a concern about the official space, condition, quality, and maintenance of the building.
The committee therefore recommend that the ministries of works and transport; mines and energy; home affairs; finance as well the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority should consider the upgrading of Oranjemund airport in consultation and collaboration with Namdeb and Debmarine Namibia.
2019-06-26 10:03:15 28 days ago