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Wait on Zuma’s N$100m donation continues

2015-02-11  Mathias Haufiku

Wait on Zuma’s N$100m donation continues
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By Mathias Haufiku WINDHOEK - With another drought feared this year, the Namibian government is yet to receive the N$100 million donation for drought relief promised by neighbours South Africa in November 2013. Seemingly, consensus is yet to be reached on the modalities of spending the donation, which according to some agitated Namibians has outlived its original purpose. The 2013 drought somewhat ended, but local weather prophets have expressed pessimism about this year’s rain prospects. A delegation from South Africa comprising of members of the Rand Water, Sedibeng, Magalies and Bloem water boards visited Namibia last year to conduct technical assessments for possible projects which are implementable and sustainable – to be funded with the promised millions. “They were here last year, went to regions and looked around,” said Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Deputy Permanent Secretary Abraham Nehemia. “It was agreed that they will compile a draft memorandum of understanding that will put out how the money will be spent, but we have not received anything so far.” The South African government last year October approved the multi-million dollar budget allocation. The Namibian ministry of agriculture told New Era yesterday that it is still waiting for the draft memorandum of understanding detailing how the money will be spent, as agreed by the two governments last year. In a letter sent to the Namibian government last year, South Africa’s Water and Sanitation Department said N$45 million of the total money will be ring-fenced to be utilised on borehole drilling, provision of water tankers and acquiring technical skills to support and install boreholes in five regions, adding that it will identify other relevant projects and programmes on water and sanitation, which are sustainable in nature and can be supported through the remainder of the N$55 million from the allocation. Talks are rife that the South African government itself wants to conduct the tendering process through its tender board and appoint contractors to come and do the work in Namibia. However, Namibian authorities are said to be uncomfortable with this arrangement, government sources said this week. “If it is a donation then the money must just be given to Namibia so that we can spend it where necessary because we know our own needs better than anyone else,” an official quipped. “All we must ensure is that we are able to account how the money was used.” Nehemia refused to comment on the alleged planned tendering procedures, saying: “We also picked it [news about tendering] up but for now it is just rumour. I do not want to touch on that issue because the memorandum of understanding will tell us what they [SA government] want and it will clarify everything.” During a state visit to Namibia from November 6 to 7 2013, South African President Zuma committed a funding of N$100 million to support the drought relief programme in Namibia, as the country battled devastating drought conditions at the time. The programmes were intended to cover water, health and agriculture. The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) through its subsidiary office, the African Renaissance Fund (ARF) has since approved a total budget allocation of about R100 million for Namibia’s drought relief programme.
2015-02-11  Mathias Haufiku

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