The Otjozondjupa region is committed to its mantra of “participatory planning and integrated development” as a way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government programmes.
“We want to ensure that every penny of government is effectively utilised to address the needs of the region. Therefore, there is no need for programmes to compete, but rather they should complement each other because the outputs are intended at benefiting the broader citizens of this great region and nation at large,” Otjozondjupa governor James Uerikua said.
In terms of economic development, he mentioned that Otjiwarongo was selected as the site for the construction of the first-ever Biomass Industrial Park in Namibia, and a 100-hectare piece of land has been prepared and serviced for this massive endeavour, which will create about 300 jobs at the town.
This project is expected to leverage value-addition synergies for a robust local market for wood-based products to unlock new market opportunities domestically and beyond. The governor stated that the project will process more than 300 tonnes of encroacher bush biomass per annum, while creating several value-added chain by-products such as animal feed and many more.
There is currently a partnership between Otjiwarongo and a city in Germany on planet adaptation strategies such as biomass wastewater treatment plants and waste energy.
Uerikua highlighted that the region places great emphasis on the plight of the youth.
“Through various governance structures, the youth are being assisted in terms of education and income-generating opportunities. During the period under review, my office has assisted several young people to attain entrance to various tertiary institutions and higher learning institutions,” he said.
In total, about 12 learners were assisted in this regard with a total amount of
N$55 355. The office of the governor also supported three athletes with an amount of N$9 500 through the Namibia Schools Sports Union (NSSU) to partake in the international schools’ federation under-15 World Games in Belgrade, Serbia last year.
Equally, 140 youth in the Ojiwarongo, Okahandja and Grootfontein constituencies have benefited from a poultry production donation of over 800 chicks for breeding purposes, feeders and feed.
“Today, those young people are poultry producers, and are contributing to the economy of the region and nation at large,” Uerikua reported.
Land and water
However, the region is cognisant of the challenges of land and boundary disputes, double allocations, unauthorised extensions and illegal fencing.
The regional head noted that these challenges are receiving attention with the involvement of all stakeholders, including the traditional authorities.
He said with concern that whilst the ministry of agriculture has decentralised its regional function (the division of lands), funding of regional capital projects such as the Neu Sommerau Resettlement Project – a resettlement farm near Kombat - is still being facilitated at the head office.
“The process of procuring project
services and inputs for this farm is thus affected by these arrangements, and causes a concerning delay for the project to be implemented effectively. I call on the relevant ministry to consider transferring capital project funds to the regional councils for fast, efficient and effective service delivery.”
During the period under review, an amount of N$400 000 was spent on drilling three boreholes, of which only two were successful at Tjatjou in Tsumkwe and Felschenek in the Omatako constituency. However, the third borehole at Talitha in the Okakarara constituency was not successful.
Additionally, three boreholes were drilled at Otjipaheua at Gam in the Tsumkwe area, earmarked as a reception area for the Botswana returnees of Namibian origin. But, these boreholes were dry.
Uerikua also expressed dismay at the “exorbitant” pricing by drillers when billing government, saying it is a cause of concern and unpatriotic.
The governor further revealed that two farms with a combined size of approximately 10 000ha were acquired and ready for use under the programme of repatriating
people of Namibian origin living in Botswana.
The region likewise managed to conduct the installation of 13 boreholes through the in-house support of the staff of the Rural Water Supply directorate.
Another significant project is the construction of a 24-kilometre water pipeline to service the farming cooperatives of Otjiyao, Ngatunue and Otjiningandu in the Gam area of Tsumkwe at a cost of N$23.4 million.
Uerikua said proper infrastructure is one of the fundamental requirements for a responsive health system.
Since independence, the region thus constructed prefabricated isolation facilities at the Okahandja and Otjiwarongo hospitals for more than N$7.3 million.
The construction of a prefabricated Tuberculous/HIV clinic at Tsumkwe at a cost of N$521 203 is another achievement.
There was also the renovation and upgrading of mortuaries at Otjiwarongo, Grootfontein and Okakarara at a total cost of N$866 329, as well as the refurbishment of hospital wards and laundry services at a total amount of N$19.6 million as part of the capital projects of the ministry of health in the Otjozondjupa region for this period.
The region furthermore benefited from a 4.5-tonne oxygen tank installation at the Grootfontein District Hospital, donated by the Welsh Government through the Cardiff University, in partnership with the University of Namibia.
“Our region is vast, and with the Tsumkwe constituency being the furthest and with difficult roads infrastructure, it is our commitment and wishes to see that the Tsumkwe constituency be liberated as a stand-alone health district for increased access to healthcare by those communities. Currently, Tsumkwe relies on services under the Grootfontein health district, despite it being located at a distance of over 400 kilometres in Gam,” he observed.
The governor further revealed that plans are underway for the construction of a health post in Otjiserandu in the Gam area, with the assistance of Namport.
Although the region continues to perform well in the national examinations, the governor appealed that everyone enhances all efforts to ensure excellence at all levels.
Due to the vastness and the fact that the region attracts more people due to its strategic central location, the demand for school space and teachers is always high.
“Our focus is to pull together all machinery to ensure that, come early next year, we will have classrooms available to accommodate learners and teachers as well. Thus, a new school called Tsaraxa-Aibes Primary School at Otjiwarongo was constructed worth over N$24.1 million,” Uerikua indicated.
In terms of housing, he said there was a roll-out of the accelerated land and housing delivery programme in Okahandja, as well as in Grootfontein. –firstname.lastname@example.org