The sins of the fathers

24 June 2019 | Opinion

The inaction of the last 29 years or so is catching up with us. There is a real and serious threat of hepatitis E becoming endemic in Namibia with more than 5 000 cases reported. Khomas governor Laura Mcleod-Katjirua is on record saying that all the interventions thus far, in a bid to stem the unending tide of infections, have “had no impact”.

Authorities have not sat idle but, their interventions are a little too little and a little too late. Community toilets too have been vandalised.

A recent report indicates that almost half of the country's population defecates in the open. The toilets that are in the informal settlements, all leak. Water is abundant in the informal settlements but none of it safe. Streams of polluted water are seen everywhere.

There is no infrastructure and yet, the number of shacks keep growing.

Millions appear to have been wasted in the north, supplying toilets to communities which, at the end of the day, are not usable and stand, wasting away in the harsh sun.

During 2011/12 government spent N$181.5 million on 10 000 Ecosan toilets in five northern regions. These are now 'decorating' the landscape.

We are not planning, and we are certainly not thinking ahead.

We have said it before: A lack of decentralisation, coupled with unsure policies that limit direct foreign investment, has led to an exodus to the central and coastal regions as people try to secure some form of income.

Our informal settlements have become a direct threat to the health of not only our residents, but our very precious underground water resources. The riverbeds in and around our capital all feed directly into either the Swakoppoort or Von Bach dams. Swakoppoort already has solar bees due to its massive levels of organic pollution.

And then of course, there is climate change and drought.

We are in serious trouble comrades and the time for action was 10 or 20 years ago. We had better get at it.

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