Who Will Electrify Omaheke?

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By Petronella Sibeene OMAERE A lack of clear policy on rural electrification has delayed development in the Omaheke Region. The Deputy Minister of Works, Transport and Communication who is also the Regional Councillor of the Kalahari Constituency Stephanus Mogotsi said in an interview that to date, it is not clear who has to carry out the Rural Electrification Project. He called on the Ministry of Mines and Energy to re-look into this matter. “It is not clear who has to electrify rural areas, whether it is the Regional Government or the Ministry itself,” he said. Mogotsi says some areas have the infrastructure but are not connected yet due to the dispute over whose responsibility it is to ensure that rural areas get supplied with power. He singled out Vergenoeg and Okakarara as areas with infrastructure but yet still in the dark. However, some farmers in Talismanus have electricity but Mogotsi feels there is a need to make electricity accessible to all farms in that area. Apart from ensuring that rural electrification benefits all farmers, Mo-gotsi added that there is a great need to subsidize the process. “It is funny that farmers have to pay N$300 000 to bring the infrastructure to their farms and on top of that they have to pay for power usage,” he complained. Councillor of the Otjom-binde Constituency Mati Ndjoze said as leaders of the Omaheke Region, they would want people particularly farmers in their area to have access to electricity. He lamented the fact that the process has been slow. Currently, only one-third of the farmers have access to power from the Omaere Power Substation. “We are working and hoping to achieve 80 percent of people receiving power. This year only, we want at least 50 percent of the population to get electricity through pay as you use it,” he said. In light of the recent joint commissioning of the 132 kilovolts Omaere/Ghanzi transmission line, the Otjom-binde councillor says this is a step in the right direction for an area that desperately needs power supply and development in general. As was stated by the acting Nam-power Board Chairperson Penda Kiyala during the joint commissioning of the substation last Thursday, a transmission line at Omaere/Ghanzi has potential to contribute to the rural economic development especially that electricity is a catalytic factor in sectors such as education, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and health, among others. “We have a lot of projects in the constituency but hiccups related to lack of power supply have acted as stumbling blocks to development in Otjombinde,” stated Ndjo-ze. Otjombinde has a population of ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚± 7 000 people, including the marginalised San.