Bypass cuts deep

There are fears that the bypass will turn Okahandja into a “ghost town”.

19 August 2019 | Infrastructure

Residents of Vergenoeg, an 'illegal' settlement on the western outskirts of Okahandja, held a community meeting on Saturday afternoon. The purpose was to discuss the construction of the Okahandja bypass, which cuts through the settlement.

According to Theodolfine Tjaronda, a community activist and Vergenoeg resident, about 300 homes will have to be demolished to make way for the roughly two kilometres of dual carriageway that will bypass the town through the settlement.

The meeting was called by the Okahandja Residents Damage Control Committee and was addressed by Welfred Goaseb.

He told a crowd of roughly 100 people that the road “is unnecessary”, adding that it will turn Okahandja into a “ghost town”.

The bypass veers west just south of the Omakunde River, bypassing the town on the southern and western fringes, and reconnects with the B1 to Otjiwarongo as well as the B2 to the coast.

“People will not come into Okahandja anymore. Jobs will be lost and eventually, our municipality will be downgraded. What about the wood carvers and their livelihoods? Our leaders are not taking this seriously. The interest of the people will always be more important than any development,” Goaseb told the crowd, to loud applause.

Business people in the town agree, in particular the small row of curio, biltong and coffee shops flanking the Three-Way Shell service station opposite the wood carvers. Speaking informally to Namibian Sun over the weekend, but declining to be named, they expressed their worry about the diversion of traffic past the town. It appears that the business community will engage the municipality on the issue.

Another resident of Vergenoeg, Sara Ngairo, who also addressed the crowd, pointed to the graveyard and said: “Here lie our forefathers. Is this not our land?

“Why are we referred to as 'illegal' and not the 'electorate'? Enough is enough. We must learn to stand together. This is why Okahandja looks the way it looks.”

She quoted from article 16 of the constitution, which guarantees all persons the right to acquire, own and dispose of all forms of property in any part of Namibia. The right to own relates to keeping the property for oneself, for whichever purpose, including the right of use and enjoyment of the property.

Ngairo said that once they learned of the new road, roughly in June or July this year, as they were never consulted or informed, they wrote a letter to Otjozondjupa governor Otto Ipinge. Ipinge responded, saying that he would meet with the community on 2 September. That is very far,” she said, adding that the governor clearly “does not take it seriously”.

She said they then went to the councillors, who “said they will come, but never did”.

On 12 July, Ngairo said they handed in a written submission at President Geingob's Otjozondjupa town hall meeting in Otjiwarongo. She said he undertook “to attend to it”.

Nampa reported that Geingob, after having received several written proposals at Otjiwarongo, said “he will establish a team that will critically look into them”.

On Saturday afternoon, the residents of Vergenoeg said they would move, if provided with an alternative place to stay. There is very little the residents can do, as the road has been proclaimed. According to section 22 of Roads Ordinance 17 of 1972, as amended, very little can be done once a road is proclaimed. Moreover, the 2015 moratorium on all land sales in Okahandja, which is still in force, further compounds the movement of the settlement. The municipality has already informed the residents that there is no available land.

The contract for the construction of the bypass is for roughly 20 months and it has started on the A1. Surveying has been completed and the surveyors have marked the route. The poles can be seen in between homes in the settlement.

Many residents at the meeting spoke to Namibian Sun. Some showed letters in which they asked to be allocated a plot, with some dated as far back as 2009. The community has also engaged the municipality and the regional council as far back as February 2018, in a bid to formalise the Vergenoeg settlement. Many did not receive a response. And those who did were informed that there is no available land.

Okahandja CEO Martha Mutilifa did not respond to requests for comment, but the town's mayor, Congo Hindjou, told Namibian Sun that a site visit was conducted to see how the community will be affected. Earlier this month, Mutilifa told The Namibian a council meeting would be held to discuss the matter.


Similar News


Billions for new power lines

2 weeks ago - 29 August 2019 | Infrastructure

As part of its new strategic plan, NamPower is expected to spend upward of N$1 billion on the construction of three new heavy-current power lines...

Logistics vision gathers steam

2 weeks ago - 27 August 2019 | Infrastructure

Recent upgrades to Namibia's roads, railways and ports have brought the country closer to reaching logistical and economic targets.According to the Walvis Bay Corridor Group...

Fire kills one, destroys vessel

3 weeks ago - 19 August 2019 | Infrastructure

A man was killed when the hake trawler Ocean Tide moored at the jetty of Seawork Fish Processors in Walvis Bay caught fire below deck...

Bypass cuts deep

3 weeks ago - 19 August 2019 | Infrastructure

Residents of Vergenoeg, an 'illegal' settlement on the western outskirts of Okahandja, held a community meeting on Saturday afternoon. The purpose was to discuss the...

Air Nam flight delays due to grounded pilots

1 month - 16 August 2019 | Infrastructure

Complaints are flooding in from frustrated Air Namibia customers who say they had to spend hours at Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) because of delayed...

Millions for Windhoek’s informal settlements

1 month - 15 August 2019 | Infrastructure

The ministry of urban and rural development has set aside N$50 million to improve the living conditions of Windhoek’s informal settlements residents for the 10...

CoW delivers zero serviced plots in 2017/18

1 month - 13 August 2019 | Infrastructure

Despite setting sights on delivering 430 serviced erven for residential, business and institutional purposes during the 2017/18 financial year, the City of Windhoek (CoW) failed...

RFA considers toll roads

1 month - 09 August 2019 | Infrastructure

The Road Fund Administration (RFA) wants to investigate the viability of tolling Namibian roads as a potential additional revenue stream to the Road User Charging...

Rail limits Namport

1 month - 02 August 2019 | Infrastructure

While the expansion of the Walvis Bay port has been welcomed as a boon for the economy, the lack of a modern rail line to...

Zim dry port inaugurated

1 month - 29 July 2019 | Infrastructure

Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa inaugurated his country's dry port facility in Walvis Bay on Friday. This formed part of his official state visit to Namibia....

Latest News

Great risk, great reward

2 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Business

Evany van Wyk In only three years, Braam Vermeulen and his two other founding partners...

Once bitten, twice shy

2 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Economics

The Government Institutions Pension Fund says it cannot guarantee the success of its unlisted investment scheme but has taken precautions to ensure that it does...

Rape: No means no

2 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Crime

Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga yesterday underlined a woman's right to say no and urged Namibians to band together to end the epidemic of violence by...

Perseverance and a good attitude...

2 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Business

Evany van Wyk Growing up in the small town of Rehoboth, Chantell Engelbrecht longs for the times she used to play street soccer with her...

Fear is not a factor

2 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Business

Michelline Nawatises Primus Shaapopi was born at Eenhana in the Ohangwena Region. For 17 years, he was raised as a Catholic by his grandmother at...

Self-motivation and teamwork

2 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Business

Mariselle StofbergEvery new challenge can translate into a learning experience, which helps Natalia Simon gain deeper knowledge of my profession.Simon has never allowed the challenges...

Adding value to the equation

2 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Business

Evany van Wyk Born and raised in Oranjemund in the //Karas Region, Marisol Basson attended high school in South Africa. She decided to study marketing...

SOEs a burden - Jooste

2 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Government

Public enterprises minister Leon Jooste says state-owned enterprises in Namibia, with the exception of a few, have failed to optimally deliver on their mandates.“In some...

Let's talk about sex

2 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Opinion

Teen pregnancy in Namibia remains a rising concern. The high teen pregnancy rate has also resulted in many girls dropping out of school to stay...

Load More