By Frederick Philander MARIENTAL The Presidential Task Force responsible for the reconstruction of vital infrastructure after the devastating floods earlier this year at Mariental, has requested an urgent meeting with President Hifikepunye Pohamba at State House. This was confirmed yesterday by Gerard van der Merwe, head manager of the Hardap Corporation, which he represents on the Presidential Task Force. According to Van der Merwe, the bulk of the pledged N$10 million is presently with the Office of the Prime Minister and is expected to be made available for short-term infrastructure repairs at Mariental before the end of the year. “Physically the money has not yet flowed into the town, but once we report to the Head of State on progress thus far, we are optimistic that short-term repairs will be completed before the end of this year,” said Gerhard van der Merwe telephonically from Henties Bay. He dispelled the misconception that the N$10 million is meant for distribution among victims of the Mariental flood. “That is not so. The money is earmarked for short- and long-term infrastructure repairs after the flood only. We have already drawn up a progress report to be submitted to State House,” Van der Merwe said. In the meantime, the issue surrounding insurance payouts for flood damages caused to businesses in Mariental is slowly but surely being resolved. “I have received a lump sum insurance payout for the N$7-million damage my shop suffered during the floods and I am presently busy repairing the building,” said Johan de Lange, the owner of Spar at the town during a short New Era press interview with him on Monday. Workers were busy fixing the walls and floors of the shop, one of the biggest in the Southern town. “I am expecting my shop to reopen some time in October. Presently properties at Mariental are basically without significant value, a worrying thought for many of the people who have suffered damages. I doubt whether any property owners will again qualify for flood damages or even for building loans at banks in the town,” said De Lange sceptically. He owns the popular business for the past 16 years.
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