By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The community of Aroab Village in the Karas Region were all smiles last week, with the inauguration of the newly constructed office complex for council valued at N$450 000. Quite significantly, the new office building was completed entirely by the community members themselves without the need of formal or major contractors. Not only is the move seen as a way of creating much-needed jobs in a village where poverty and unemployment is high, but it also gives the Aroab Village Council a facelift. Officially opening the office complex on the eve of Africa Freedom Day last week Thursday, the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development John Pandeni commended the community for a job well done. “I am therefore particularly happy to witness the result of hard work, commitment and dedication of the Aroab community, who rendered their relentless labour and expertise during the construction work,” said Pandeni. With a population of approximately 3 500 the Aroab Village Council is currently providing municipal services to more than 300 households in both the formal and informal residential areas. However, like in most small towns and villages, the high influx of people from rural areas in search of jobs and a better life, made worse by the unstable working conditions in commercial farms, leaves workers stranded. As a result a further strain is placed on the village council’s limited resources and facilities to provide proper services to the people. In an effort to redress the situation through the decentralisation policy of bringing government closer to the people, the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development has prioritised the need to rehabilitate the existing infrastructure of regional councils countrywide. In view of this, the ministry subsidised the construction of the new village council office complex at a cost of N$450 000, in line with the ministry’s approach to make local authorities competitive at an administrative and infrastructure level in order to attract investment. “The rehabilitation of the infrastructure is also part of the government policy of local economic development to accelerate the process of decentralization and provide quality delivery of services to the inhabitants of our local authorities,” explained the minister. Almost 40 percent of the Aroab population lives in abject poverty and harsh conditions, making them resort to alcohol and drug abuse, which results in juvenile delinquency at the end of the day. In view of this, the minister said, “These degrading factors are the main contributors to the abuse of women and defenceless children who are supposed to enjoy love and protection by the detractors.” Another disturbing factor is the HIV/Aids pandemic and Tuberculosis prevalent in the village. The minister noted that it was only through changing social behaviour for the better and teaching young ones to live productive lives that the infection rate can be reduced. Nevertheless, with the new office complex, confidence was expressed that under the slogan “Unity Our Strength” the village council is expected to carry out its municipal duties and development activities in an effective and efficient manner.
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