By Surihe Gaomas UIS Local investments in aquaculture farming and brick-making could soon become a vital lifeline in reviving development at the sleepy town of Uis in the Erongo Region. Since the Uis Tin Mine under the Iron and Steel Corporation of South Africa (ISCOR) closed down several years ago, the town has never really fully recovered from this body blow and is struggling to find its feet. Poverty and unemployment became rife in the closely-knit town of only 2 000 residents, leaving the village council with the onerous task of bringing development to the town. “We had a hard time when the mine closed operations here years ago, but slowly but surely the village council is looking at making the town self-sustainable,” said Fani van Heerden, the vice chairperson of the village council. In line with this, the village council has carefully scrutinised development proposals and feasibility studies for aquaculture farming and brick-making at Uis. Although specifications could not be given as to how much investment is involved in terms of money, the village council says it is still considering applications from local investors. Such ventures would be in close partnership with the Uis Village Council. According to the council’s personnel officer Deon Kavandje, this close scrutiny is to avoid previous mishaps where local investors would just come and conduct business without taking the socio-economic needs of the community into consideration. Recently, a certain entrepreneur by the name of Albert Weiss promised to start a brick-making venture considering the abundance of sand at the town. However this turned out to be an empty promise, as no development took off. “The Uis Village Council wants to see real development on the ground by looking at the welfare of the people and making sure their needs are taken care of,” explained Kavandje. He added that the 100 people who were supposed to be employed in this venture would not be directly employed under this businessman, but under a labour hire system. Yet, with the aquaculture farming initiative coming up soon, the council is hopeful that concrete benefits will be seen on the ground. So far, this development was given the green light by Government and is envisaged to kick start by the middle of this year. “We want the community of Uis to become self-sustainable through this project and in so doing, those working in the project can indirectly also help their families,” added Councillor Eric Xaweb. The latest development plan comes at a time when the village of Uis was in the news after the discovery and removal of the poisonous chemical of potassium cyanide at Sunrise Club last week. However, the council sees 2006 as a year of development and progress for the town of Uis.
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