By William Mbangula
Major development activities, including the relocation of Omatala open market, are envisaged for Oshakati.
The development projects estimated to cost N$17,5 million are part of the strategic master development plan of the town council.
New Mayor of Oshakati, Katrina Shimbulu, told New Era that Omatala is a priority area for the town council. It has been a contributing factor to what some call the filthiness of Oshakati.
A spot has been identified for informal trading. It will be provided with essential facilities such as toilets, parking lots, taxi and bus loading zones.
Phase one of the project is estimated to cost N$1,7 million.
The area to be vacated by the informal traders at Omatala is earmarked for a state-of-the-art shopping mall with a parking area underneath. A bridge will be constructed over the Oshakati Ruacana highway.
She said a bridge would be built from present Omatala to Okatana Service Station to minimise road accidents.
The Town Council of Oshakati is consulting with the Ministry of Trade and Industry as well as the Katima Mulilo Town Council on how to develop Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) trading zones.
Shimbulu, the first female mayor of Oshakati, said the Katima Mulilo Town Council recently completed an open market facility that Oshakati Town Council could emulate. She said the current open market in Oshakati is not conducive for proper and decent SME activities since big wholesalers have taken over the entire space and are pushing small traders out of business.
Town councillors and technical employees will soon visit Katima Mulilo to look at the open market structure constructed there with the assistance of Lux Development Company.
Trading in front of the Angolan consulate, which in the past sparked controversy, has been addressed. Trading will take place in the pavement along the Dr Agostinho Neto Street (from Okatana Service station to Shali Garage). Apart from being a nuisance to the consulate, selling at that spot invites trouble mainly caused by vendors, and taxi and bus owners at the undeclared loading zones nearby.
Road congestion, air pollution coming from frying pans of meat sellers as well as criminal activities are said to be rampant. A structure that would cost about N$70 000 will be constructed in front of the consulate. This will prevent people from using the spot for business activities and anti-social behaviour. A source within the Angolan consulate applauded the local authority for at last taking action against the vendors in front of their offices.
She said although the office understands vendors’ complaints that the place is a source of income generation for them, their presence is not compatible with the status of the consulate.
Other municipal projects include the construction of a green park, a joint venture between the town council and the Bank of Namibia. The area to be developed was formerly a sewerage dam. Phase one which includes the fencing and rehabilitation of the former sewerage dam has been completed.
Phase two is expected to cost about N$1,2 million. Work will be done almost at the same time as the construction of the wall around the town council offices.
Shimbulu notes that a proper and presentable image around the offices should be constructed since the current fence around it has devalued the posh offices of the town council. This will cost about N$ 1,9 million.
Two major roads from Pupkewitz Toyota to Nembia Kerwery will be tarred as well as the one from Bank of Namibia through Okave Club road to Chips Hotels. About N$2,5 million is budgeted for it.
The informal settlements of Evululuko, Uupindi and Kandjengedi will be provided with water and electricity, and the gravel roads will be upgraded.
Efforts are also being made to provide a reliable road network from Oshoopala (Amunkambya) location to the industrial area where a nine-kilometre road will be tarred at a cost of N$1, 5 million.
The formalisation of Oneshila location, one of the oldest in Oshakati, will cost about N$270 000. A water tower at Uupindi is to cost N$1,8 million, while at Evululuko N$530 000 is allocated for basic facilities.
Oshakati town will soon have its own private hospital with a landing strip for helicopters. It is said some investors have expressed interest in the construction of a hospital behind Yetu Shopping Centre. It will be the first private hospital to be located in this commercial Mecca of the North which is home to about 50 000 people. The pan behind Yetu Centre will be filled and serviced at a cost of N$2.7 million.
The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) plans to build 2 000 houses at Ehenye village of which 300 will be constructed in the first phase. About 10 people from Ehenye village will be relocated to pave way for development.
The housing project at Ehenye has been delayed because some residents do not want to leave their traditional mahangu fields.
More houses are envisaged for Onendongo and Okaku Kiipupu villages where N$450 000 has been set aside for a survey aimed at identifying an appropriate area for a luxury residential area.
Apart from the development activities spearheaded by the local authority, Oshakati will soon witness other activities aimed at promoting the infrastructural development of the town initiated by the Government and non-governmental organisations.
Some of these are the High Court currently under construction at a cost of N$54 million; the Social Security Commission (SSC) which has purchased land for N$50 000 where it will construct its regional head office; and Agribank is negotiating with the local authority to buy land.
The Agro Food Processing Centre by the Ministry of Trade and Industry is to cost N$7,5 million of which N$900 000 has been used to kick off the project.
The centre aims at investing in entrepreneurship development programmes targeting women, SMEs, and food producers and processors in various categories.
Another significant project is a five-hectare cemetery. A five-hectare plot at Othingo village was constructed at a cost of N$1,4 million as part of phase one.
Phase two will start soon and includes constructing pathways, digging of graves, building of a dressing room, toilets and other essential facilities. This will cost about N$400 000.
The mayor explained that the town council has budgeted N$3 million for rehabilitation and provision of the following services: traffic lights on the Oshakati Okahao road, Oshakati Hospital road, water canal, fire fighting system, bypass from Sky location along Apyoro pan to the new open market, bypass between Chicco building supply and Coca Cola factory to Game Shopping Centre, street lights from Omatala to Game Shopping Centre and the installation of a networking computer system.
Oshakati was officially founded in July 1966. Following recommendations of the Delimitation Commission in 1991, it became the capital of the Oshana Region.