Otjinene Awaits New Status

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK The proclamation of Otjinene as a village early next year will pave the way for development in that area, Otjinene Constituency Councillor Ezekiel Toromba has said. The area, with a population of between 4 000 and 5 000, is considered as a central place where people from other undeclared settlements in the region sell their livestock, fill up their vehicles and also do shopping for various items. Toromba said his office would use N$3 million to service between 30 and 40 erven, put up a sewerage system and construct gravel roads. “We need to upgrade the area to a certain level before the minister can proclaim it as a village,” he said. Before this process could start, the councillor said, his office would first meet with people living within the village boundaries who would be affected by the new developments. More than 100 people may have to move to pave way for the developments and may require some form of compensation for being moved away. He said although he had not met the affected people, “I am told that people are saying they want to be compensated.” “Some people have lived here for more than 30 to 40 years and we cannot just move them overnight,” he said. Before the upgrading starts, Toromba said, he and officials from the Omaheke Regional Council’s Directorate of Planning and Development Services would meet with the residents to come up with a plan on how they would be compensated. Toromba said the new status would be good for the area to help it attract some development. Otjinene has two primary schools, a junior secondary school, a police station, a magistrate’s court that is being renovated and a health centre. One advantage that comes with being proclaimed a village is that people that have erven can apply for housing loans from banks. With the mainstay of the constituents being cattle farming, Toromba said, the new status would mean more job opportunities especially for the youth. The only employers present are government institutions, a few shops and beer outlets. He said the youth, who formed the majority of the population, were mostly unemployed and engaged in livestock theft and alcohol and drug abuse. “We also need to renovate the sports ground for the youth to use and also build a vocational training centre in the region to train Grade 10 dropouts and school leavers in various trades for them to start their own businesses.”