Govt should service land for municipalities – Khomas Governor

 

Windhoek- Khomas Regional Governor, Laura McLeod-Katjirua has described her stay at the helm of the regional council as having been a fruitful experience in spite of the challenges that comes with the topographic make-up of the region – being the seat of Government.

This is in line with a statement that she made in her acceptance speech of the region’s governorship, in which she expressed confidence that given the task, she will execute it with the same vigour that she applied during her tenure at the Omaheke Regional Council.

Speaking to The Southern Times this week, McLeod Katjirua maintained that she embraced her coming to Khomas entirely and it is with the same zest that she is preparing to take on her new role as a lawmaker for the ruling SWAPO Party in the National Assembly.   

McLeod-Katjirua said: “The challenge of running the affairs of a regional council is not a one man show. My job is to ensure that development is initiated where it is needed and that there is progress.”

As such, she has managed to create a Local Councilors Forum for the Khomas Region to enhance coordination between the respective constituencies.

As a team the councillors are waging a war against the social ills that are threatening to derail development in their respective areas and the greater region.

One such negative force is the servicing of land and the conundrums that comes with it. The subject has been the cause of many a debate, with central government fingering the local authorities for the delays while the latter argues that there is a need for cash injection from the State to cater for land delivery.

The straight talking McLeod-Katjirua, however, has a divergent view.

“My request to the system is that central government should service the land. It will work in our favour if Government services the land and then hands it to the respective local authorities, for them to maintain,” she said.

The governor further stressed that, while the mass housing initiative is a commendable effort, it will only benefit those that can afford the cash deposits, while others will still be left out – unless government comes up with houses for which people who cannot afford the deposits can move in and pay the deposits gradually.

Another challenge to the Khomas region, according to McLeod-Katjirua is the influx of people to the region which then puts the authorities under pressure. Although the above is not unique to Windhoek, she said, it certainly escalates the impact of other social problems such as unemployment.

“But then again, Namibians should move away from being job seekers and become job creators. Support is everywhere. The Ministry of Trade has the Equipment Aid Scheme for start-ups and the Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare has to continuously support small emerging businesses,” she said, while citing initiatives like the Made in Namibia expo as indicators that Namibia as a nation is on the mark. She said there is no way that government alone will eradicate poverty. “It should be collective effort,” she stressed.

She hailed the Khomas Region for having done well against the odds, in terms of development.

Queried on the apparent failure of the Park Food Shopping Complex, an initiative of the Khomas Regional Council which was built with the aim of supplementing the regional council’s subsidy from central government, McLeod-Katjirua did not mince her words.

Said Katjirua, “I can confirm that Park Foods (Park Foods Shopping Complex) is not making a profit. We are initiating a study to look at how best the situation can be improved. Others are saying we should sell it, but we are still trying look at how best we can benefit.”

She concluded that for the region, the good thing is to coordinate activities, and that “the left hand should know what the right hand is doing”.

“We are in better position as far as planning is concerned. We must now just implement,” she said.

March 2015
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