Unsafe water, no ATM

Katwitwi, which once bustled with Angolan cash, is now a shadow of its former self and in desperate need of development.

28 February 2019 | Local News

Katwitwi settlement residents in Kavango West are calling on the regional council to develop the area, including by providing them with potable water.

The nearest ATM is at Nkurenkuru, which is situated about 45 km away from the settlement, meaning Katwitwi residents have to fork out N$100 per trip to draw money.

On a recent visit to Katwitwi, Namibian Sun observed how stagnation has crept in, apart from the shebeens operating along the main road.

Some shebeens and shops have closed down at the settlement, situated near the Angolan border.

Katwitwi, like Oshikango, had been booming when Angolans frequently visited and spent wads of cash.

However, due to ongoing economic challenges both locally and in the Angolan economy, business activities at Katwitwi have plummeted.

Some residents said socio-economic development at the settlement was not being addressed by government.

The residents pointed out that most of them depend on water from the Okavango River, while a few individuals have managed to drill boreholes on their land.

They said this was unacceptable after nearly 29 years of independence.

Another concern is that no infrastructure development leads to youth unemployment. The residents argued that every town in Namibia was once a settlement that had been developed.

They called on the Kavango West regional council to address the needs of the people living at Katwitwi.

“Katwitwi seriously needs development. We depend on the river for water, which is not hygienic. Why are other parts of the country being developed and we are left to live in this old-fashioned type of way?” a concerned resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Another resident said there was only one shop in the community that sells basic necessities and therefore goods are very expensive.

“If there was an ATM in Katwitwi, life would be so great. That travelling to Nkurenkuru to withdraw money does not make sense and sometimes the ATMs over there are not in a working condition, which means that you have wasted your time and money,” the resident said. Residents said further that most of the youth employed at Katwitwi are working in bars because there are no other types of businesses.

They demanded that services be brought closer to them.

Mpungu constituency councillor Kandjimi Shiudifonya acknowledged there is dire need for development at Katwitwi.

Shiudifonya said they have started to fence off a pond, which would be used to provide potable water to residents.

However, due to the unavailability of funds the project could not be completed. Shiudifonya said his constituency had expected to receive a budget of N$5 million that was later cut to N$500 000, which they used to fence off part of the water pond.

“I think it is best you contact our regional head office because they are the ones with the money. I know the challenges the people are experiencing and can only submit proposals, as I do not have the money,” Shiudifonya said.

Several attempts, since last week, to get comment from Kavango West chief regional officer Mpasi Katewa proved futile.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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