In order to learn more about the local governance of the capital of the south, New Era’s //Kharas regional reporter Steven Klukowski recently sat down with Dawn Kruger, public relations officer of the Keetmanshoop Municipality.
NE: Many unemployed residents daily roam the streets of Keetmanshoop. What poverty alleviations programmes are currently being implemented or in the pipeline to address this seemingly insurmountable socio-economic challenges?
DK: “The Keetmanshoop Municipality has a database of all unemployed youth in town that is used when opportunities for casual labour arise during operations. The municipality also expects from companies that are successful in municipal tenders to employ unskilled labour from the database in order to give preference to Keetmanshoop residents. The municipality uses unemployed people on a casual basis to clean the streets on a weekly basis.”
NE: What are some of the major projects that have been completed over the past year and how have these projects benefitted the residents of Keetmanshoop?
DK: “Capital projects 2018/19: Streetlights were erected in Tseiblaagte Extension 5 and a portion of Tseiblaagte Extension 6 (40 erven) for an amount of N$1.1 million and was completed on 10 April 2018. There was provision of electricity to 31 houses in Tseiblaagte Extension 2 at a cost of N$667,936.00. The project was completed in January 2018. A kindergarten was constructed in Tseiblaagte Extension 5 in collaboration with Anglo-American Foundation, at a cost of N$710,329.88 and is in use since June 2018. All of these companies made use of local labour, and provided better standard of living to the residents of Tseiblaagte.
“Land and housing delivery: The Keetmanshoop Municipality, NHE and the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development handed over 89 houses in Tseiblaagte Extension 5 in June 2018. The partners have handed over 110 houses to the lucky house owners so far since 2016. Currently contractors are busy constructing 88 houses in Krönlein Extension 1. With this project the parties are addressing the huge shortage of low-income housing in Keetmanshoop. Furthermore, the Keetmanshoop Municipality is still busy with the Build Together Programme where residents that do not qualify for the mass housing project can obtain houses at a total cost of N$80,000.00.
“Infrastructure development: In infrastructure development, the construction of water and sewer reticulation services for 17 erven in Tseiblaagte Extension 6 and the upgrade and maintenance of a 50m long bulk sewer line in Westdene to curb sewer overflows have been completed.”
NE: What have been some of the major challenges faced to implement these projects?
DK: “The most crippling challenges that we face as a town are unstable economic growth, the high unemployment rate especially amongst the youth, the influx of people into town from neighboring farming communities and the consequent pressure it puts on our infrastructure and service delivery especially in the informal settlement. The municipality is also facing a huge outstanding debt on services delivered which puts a damper on development.”
NE: What projects are currently underway in Keetmanshoop?
DK: “Construction of services under the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development to the value of N$8 million. The scope of work includes the construction of gravel roads for 110 erven in Westdene; servicing water, sewer and electricity to 31 erven in Tseiblaagte Extension 3; electricity to 100 erven in Tseiblaagte Extension 6; surveying of Tseiblaagte Extension 7, better known as !Gereres which as an additional benefit creates short-term employment for our youth. There are various exciting projects in the pipeline that will be communicated in due course.”
NE: Many of the municipal infrastructure (Kronlein soccer stadium, graveyards, etc.) have been vandalised. How is the council going to address this problem, are there any security arrangements in place at these places and if not what is the reasoning behind it?
DK: “Vandalism is a major problem in Keetmanshoop, coupled with illegal dumping. The Keetmanshoop Municipality has increased the fine for illegal dumping to N$4 500. The municipality also purchased a skip truck and containers to curb illegal dumping. Furthermore, the municipality embarks on regular awareness campaigns to educate the public with regard to the negative impact of vandalism and illegal dumping. The Krönlein stadium will be renovated in due course with the assistance of the Karas Regional Council and the ministry of youth and sport. The municipality is looking into the various options available for fencing the graveyards.”
NE: What programmes are council having in mind or budgeted for in the financial year?
DK: “The budget for the 2019/20 financial year with the planned activities will be announced at public meetings during the last week of June 2019.”
NE: Most of the tarred roads in town do not have clear marking lines, in a sense confusing motorists as to exactly which side they should drive on these roads. Does this not justify grounds for accidents and when will such road markings be done?
DK: “Sam Nujoma Road and First Avenue were recently upgraded by the Road Fund Administration, and the roads need some time to settle before road markings can be done. They have indicated that the road markings will be done by the end of June 2019.”