James Uerikua, the governor of Otjozondjupa, has asked inhabitants of the region to convert the current challenges faced by the region, including the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, into opportunities.
Uerikua made this call while delivering his maiden state of the region address (SORA) at Otjiwarongo yesterday.
“In this time of economic hardship, we need to develop resilience to challenges and come up with “Smart” approaches to respond to challenges affecting us,” Uerikua said.
Uerikua says government has adopted a bottom-up developmental approach in which the electorate at the grassroots shape the foundation of the conceptualisation of development programs and projects.
Over the past five years, the youthful governor said, the region has taken wide strides in terms of economic development and it continues to deliver massive infrastructure development projects.
He said, through the Regional Council, several projects have been undertaken through Capital Projects funding from central government.
“It is not easy to facilitate the delivery of housing and land due to various factors such as affordability, accessibility and availability,” Uerikua said.
However, he said government has embarked upon a programme, known as Mass Land Servicing, which ensures land is identified and serviced for the public.
Through the Mass Land Servicing programme, he said, at Otjiwarongo, two extensions, namely Heroes Park and Freedom Park, were serviced and middle to low-income houses were constructed.
Also, he said at Grootfontein a total of 643 plots are serviced and readily available, while another 532 plots in two other extensions, including a portion of land to expand the CBD, are in the pipe-line to be service.
At Otavi, Uerikua said residential plots have been made available for both formal and informal areas, while the town council also allocated 50 plots to the Shack Dwellers Federations.
Furthermore, Uerikua says there are programmes in the pipe-line, aimed at Informal Settlement Upgrading in almost all the five towns in the region.
He said due to limited financial resources and the need to speed up service delivery, some towns have gone into Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) that were pre-approved by government.
Through such PPPs, he said Otjiwarongo has managed to establish five new residential extensions, with other towns such as Okakarara engaging the NHE to construct 40 houses at the town.
He said the ultra-low-cost housing programmes of government continue to create a huge positive impact on low-income earners through the Build Together Programme and the Shack Dwellers Federation.
Furthermore, Uerikua says his office has also looked at ensuring youth unemployment become a thing of the past by establishing 18 businesses and programs aimed at assisting young entrepreneurs on their path to success.
“The youth are the backbone of this nation. They can change the future of society with their well-being and courageous behaviour. The youth has the power to help a country develop and move towards progress and are also responsible for bringing social reforms within a country,” he said.
“Youth development agenda, therefore, tops my priorities because you can only be certain of a secured future if you have young people who are able and capacitated to be active participants and contributors to the regional and national development agenda,” he added.