Some residents in Zambezi region are disappointed the regional council seems to have negligently failed to utilise over N$9.2 million allocated by government for the upgrading and installation of much-needed boreholes that would provide water to several constituencies.
The affected residents are mostly from Judea Lyaboloma, Sibbinda, Linyanti, Kongola, Kabbe North and Kabbe South, as well as Katima Mulilo constituencies, whose livelihoods depend on water for domestic use and farming purposes.
The issue of the unused funds surfaced when the National Council Standing Committee on Habitat, which visited the region last week Friday, uncovered the Zambezi Regional Council failed to utilise over N$9 million that was allocated for the drought relief mitigation. This is in light of the numerous challenges facing the residents in terms of water provision.
The government, through the Office of the Prime Minister, allocated N$19.2 million for the ongoing drought relief programme.
A community activist, Sibuku Malumbano, questioned why the regional council failed to utilise the allocated N$9.2 million for the installation of boreholes that have not been used, while hundreds – if not thousands – are without water provision.
“The region has no water, while this N$9 million has not been used. Most water resources have dried up, especially in the Sibbinda, Kongola, Linyanti, Judea Lyaboloma and Katima Mulilo Rural. These constituencies are negatively affected. They are hit by drought. What is the delay all about? We have serious water shortages and we have a lot of livestock without water,” Malumbano told New Era.
Equally, Malumbano said besides livestock, most villagers want to venture into horticulture but they are unable to do so because they do not have any water.
Malumbano feels water is a priority, considering the Covid-19 outbreak.
In a compiled report to the committee, Director for Planning in the Zambezi Regional Council Beaven Walubita on Friday explained to the parliamentary committee, led by Cletius Sipapela, on how the N$19.2 million for drought relief programme has been used and what led to funds being unused while residents are urgently in need of water provision.
Walubita said out of the allocated N$19.2 million, an amount of N$2 million went to Judea Lyaboloma; N$3 million for Sibbinda; N$4 million went to Lyntanti; N$1.7 for Kongola constituency; Kabbe North and Kabbe South each received N$2 million, respectively, while Katima Rural was allocated N$4.5 million.
However, all the mentioned constituencies did not make use of all the funds allocated, leaving a combined balance of N$9.2 million unused.
Walubita said 20 boreholes have been drilled and installed in the region. Kongola, Linyanti, Katima rural, and Sibbinda benefited five boreholes each. Three were drilled and installed in Kabbe North, two in Kabee South, while four will be drilled and installed in Judea Lyaboloma.
The Zambezi regional council promised to drill these boreholes in the first week of August. Those in the Kabbe flood-prone areas plan to drill boreholes after floods subside.
The operation commenced on 15 October 2019 to date.
An amount of N$2.5 million has been availed to be used to provide piped water from Bukalo towards Muyoko through NamWater.
Walubita revealed NamWater is busy with assessments to determine the costs involved.
Some of the challenges Walubita attributed the delays to are: expansion of the scope of work; materials procured from Windhoek, which caused stoppages; over-expenditure of N$3 million by N$1.3, which encroached into the allocated N$19.2 million; unfavourable weather conditions, and theft of a pump and control switch at one borehole.
The regional council promised to complete the ongoing minor works on six boreholes before the programmes come to an end of 23 August 2020.