New Village, New Problems

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By Engel Nawatiseb OSHIKUKU The Chairperson of the Oshikuku Village Council says the proclamation of the settlement as a village has been met by many problems, including the re-servicing of already allocated plots. Hilya Shinana said that the allocation of land previously rested with the traditional authorities, and in some instances regional authority councils assisted with the demarcation of land under its jurisdiction. The village council now finds it difficult to service land. ” Now that we are a fully endorsed local authority, our residents need to understand that the allocation of plots requires the demarcation of land and that rates and taxes need to be paid.” She noted that her council would soon determine general tariffs payable for the plots and conscientize residents about the importance of paying for services rendered. According to her, some buildings were constructed on top of water pipelines. ” It was very difficult for our headmen to spot the potential dangers that could be posed by plots running over pipes because they distributed land without proper consultations with town planners. It is however not too late to engage residents to tell them about the negative implications,” said Shinana. The President of the Namibia Village Council Forum, Pio Nganate, said the joint visit of his forum and the Association for Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN) to the newly proclaimed villages was aimed at advising the “new” councillors about their roles and responsibilities as elected leaders. He urged councillors to consult the community during the preparation and planning of its annual budget. According to Nganate, council’s budget should accommodate the aspirations of the community at large. Nganate, also Vice-President of ALAN, stressed that the association (ALAN) has lined up some workshops for the new village councillors to assist them in obtaining basic knowledge about the affairs of local authorities. ” We want to see our members delivering services to the best of their abilities at all times. I am highly impressed with the professionalism and qualities of the your councillors and if given more training, the people of Oshikuku can rest assured that they have assets in their leaders.” He appealed to councillors to keep in constant contact with community members and if necessary, to conduct house-to-house visits to consult residents. ” Visit them at their houses just like you did during election time when you were campaigning to be voted into power. Now that you are councillors should not mean that community members are your subjects, they are the same people to re-elect you based on the level of your performance,” he advised. The Oshikuku Village Council was proclaimed in June last year.