Oranjemund transformation on the move

Residents of the former Namdeb-town are used to getting services for free.

17 November 2020 | Business

Suzith Tjitaura – Oranjemund is on track in its transformation from a mining-run town to a normal local authority, says its mayor, Henry Coetzee.

When the town was declared a local authority in 2012, a transformation programme with three pillars was initiated as part of its strategic plan namely the transfer, transit and transformation.

“The transfer pillar speaks to the transfer of assets from Namdeb to council,” Coetzee said.

He said the council is still in negotiations with Namdeb for the transfer of the assets. However, a number of assets were already handed over to the town council, such as the bulk service infrastructure of water and sewage.

The transition pillar regards the community transition from a mining town to a normal local authority with a special focus on community participation and direct influence on matters that are affecting them, such as safety and security, public health and housing.

Coetzee said the council has serviced 820 erven with water, electricity and sewage thus far. It is working with the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia to build low-income houses, of which 100 erven have been allocated to members of the federation.

“In the future council will go into public-private partnerships for the provision of housing. We want our people to own their own properties or houses and will soon commence with the flexible land tenure system programme where land will be made available cheaply and we can accommodate more people to have land registered in their names cheaply as well,” said Coetzee.

The Oranjemund council has also availed land for the construction of houses for employees of the ministry of health and social services.

CHALLENGES

“The transformation pillar speaks to economic diversification and the pillar is important for the sustainability of the town and its people,” said Coetzee.

Plans being pursued under this pillar through technical studies and other due diligence are industrial, housing development, agriculture, infrastructure development, commercial, hospitality, industrial development, beach development, SME development, manufacturing and renewable energy.

The challenge council continues to face is that the residents at the town are not willing to pay for services, as their mindset is stuck in the past when they were receiving services for free, Coetzee said.

“People should really change their mindset. For 80 years Oranjemund was run by a private company. Namdeb is a financial giant and our people are used to getting services for free,” he said. - Nampa

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