KEETMANSHOOP – With the ground-breaking ceremony for the state-of-the art University of Namibia (Unam) Southern Campus having taken place at Keetmanshoop last week, more developments are underway according to Keetmanshoop Urban Constituency Councillor, Hilma Nikanor.
According to Nikanor, millions of dollars are being pumped into the town and she says it is only logical for residents of the area, including the private sector, to benefit from the development projects. “I’m not saying that employment in these and other projects should be reserved for people in the area, but it makes sense that they should receive preference to assist with poverty alleviation in the area,” explained Nikanor. She says the private sector also stands to benefit a great deal through the provision of goods and services from ongoing and other projects that are in the pipeline.
The new mall development – a first for Keetmanshoop – is scheduled for completion by November this year and Nikanor says ample interest has been shown from retailers so far. The new Keetmanshoop customs and excise regional office will also officially open tomorrow, while construction has commenced on the regional home affairs office complex. Nikanor expects the new open market, which replaces the functional but small SME park in the centre of town, to be completed towards the end of October.
Nikanor says her office has also appealed to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources for the extension of the Keetmanshoop fish farm. The aquaculture project currently consists of fish farming, gardening (using water from the fish ponds) and a chicken farm benefitting local communities.
“I appeal to the ministry of fisheries to speedily avail funds for the expansion of this project in order for us to provide more opportunities to locals and for them to acquire the necessary expertise and skills to make this project a resounding success,” she stressed. Despite the numerous investments in the town, Nikanor noted that there is a still a significant shortfall in the number of industrial activities, both small and large scale. She also admitted that proposed projects, such as a garment and furniture factory, would provide crucial employment in the area that is plagued by severe unemployment, particularly among the youth.
Also, she noted that the Neckartal Dam project will positively influence the town in terms of housing and job creation, but expressed concern over the continued delays surrounding the implementation of the N$3 billion dollar project. “It is disturbing to see the delays in the Neckartal Dam project. I continue to fight for the final implementation of the project. It’s worth fighting for the town, the region and the country as a whole,” she remarked. Other challenges in the town, according to Nikanor, include the provision of housing and sanitation. However, she pledged that she would continue pushing to ensure that these challenges are addressed, specifically in the informal settlements in the area.
By Edgar Brandt