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Swartbooi urges investment in human resources

2024-06-11  Steven Klukowski

Swartbooi urges investment in human resources

KOËS - Landless People’s Movement leader and chief change campaigner Bernadus Swartbooi has suggested that Namibia puts more emphasis on developing human resources than only focusing on infrastructure development, as human development can help citizens drive economic development.

“When a country invests in its people by giving them loans or certain skills, they can change their living standards. In this way, our unproductive citizens can become productive citizens. We cannot just be putting millions into buildings and after the building is constructed, they need maintenance every five years. We need citizens who can turn 10 cents into 100 cents,” he emphasised.

Swartbooi said the lack of human development contributes to high youth unemployment and social ills such as gender-based violence and murder.

He made this observation during the belated Independence celebrations for the Keetmanshoop Rural constituency held at the south-eastern village of Koes last weekend. 

“The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics recently got the services of an independent company to carry out a survey on the distribution of the national wealth of the country, and has subsequently come up with statistics,” the politician added. 

Swartbooi alleged that 10 regions are getting 1% of the resources each, while the other four are sitting with 22.5% each at their disposal. 

“This clearly demonstrates signs of poverty, as almost none of these resources are coming back to the biggest chunk of the country,” he observed. 

He continued that despite these allocations, there are no signs visible or any tangible evidence how resources were spent in those four regions, as most of its residents are still living in utmost poverty. 

“What kind of injustice is that? Thirty-four years after our independence, what kind of person (government) can rule with so much injustice; not caring about the rest of its citizens?” he asked.

The firebrand leader further said 1.2 million out of three million Namibians are living in utmost poverty, while 48% are struggling to put food on the table daily. 

“We should also be aware that the youth segment of our population makes up 71% of this. Young people suffering from unemployment can build or destroy a country,” he cautioned. He also alleged the ruling party has had all the resources and support to carry out promises made, but they have failed to do so since independence. 

Swartbooi further complained about resources owned by foreigners, citing diamonds (Oppenheimers), uranium (Chinese), oil and gas (foreign gas and oil production companies) and future mines (Australia and Canada). 

He, nonetheless, took pride of the fact that the LPM is in political control of the //Kharas and Hardap regions, and called on supporters to extend the party’s support in these regions. 

“For as long as we breathe, we should, can and must strive to improve the living conditions of all citizens in our country,” he stated.

Also speaking at the belated celebrations, Keetmanshoop Rural constituency councillor Willem Labuschagne said there is nothing new that the ruling party can do to ensure that Namibia achieves Vision 2030 in the next six years, as it has failed to do so in the last 34 years.

The councillor questioned how Namibia can become an industrialised nation when the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT) continues to receive a relatively small budget allocation.

“We challenged the budgetary allocations of N$7 billion and N$1.4 billion allocated to the Namibian Defence Force and the office of Veterans Affairs, respectively, without any threat of war or imminent war, in comparison to the MIT that got about N$300 million, with only six years left for Namibia to become industrialised,” he said.

Labuschagne added that independence was a dream with lots of hope, solidarity, freedom and justice, with promises of employment-creation, housing, access to healthcare services and land delivery. However, 34 years later, such dreams remain unfulfilled.

“We are far from solidarity, freedom and justice, and the present inequality in all spheres of our private and public sectors are not reflective of a struggle meant to pursue the same values and goals for all Namibians,” he continued.

-Additional reporting by Nampa

Caption: Concerned citizen… LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi.

Photo: Steven Klukowski


2024-06-11  Steven Klukowski

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