ROSH PINAH – The tarring of the road between Rosh Pinah and Oranjemund at a cost of N$560 million signals the start of exciting economic developments for the country according to Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob.
Geingob was speaking during a sod-turning ceremony for the construction project last Friday. He made it clear that the money for the project, which is expected to run over a period of 30 months, comes directly from the Namibian government and is not subsidised by any international financial institution. The road starts approximately 3 kilometres south of Rosh Pinah, along main road 118 and progresses 8 kilometres south along district road 212 until the turn-off to Sendelingsdrift and continues along the existing gravel road over a stretch 85 km to Oranjemund.
The prime minister emphasised that the government is committed to upgrading the country’s road network to such a level that it can rival that od any developed country. “We already have a good foundation and we demand work of high standard from the contractors. If you are going to build a road build a good road. We do not want to see potholes,” he said, adding that Namibians should not get used to potholes, if there are any potholes on existing tarred roads then the Ministry of Works and Transport must see to it that they are filled up immediately. He also called upon all service providers to act on their promises and to provide citizens what they are promised.
“Do not only promise, but give it to them if they need telecommunication infrastructure, education, affordable housing, water and sewage, skills and training and better roads give it to them,” he reiterated.
Geingob, also called upon the private sector to complement the efforts of government, adding that the ability to deliver quality and durable infrastructure requires strong partnerships. The Governor of the //Karas Region Bernadus Swartbooi further called on the mines in the region to join hands in constructing the 147 kilometres road from Rosh Pinah to Aussenkehr to unlock further economic opportunities.
“It makes sense to build this road. We can maintain jobs with the export of the grapes,” he argued. The Aussenkehr farms produce grapes, which are exported mainly to European markets since 1991.
Moreover, the export of grapes has grown from a mere 1 000 tonnes initially to 16 650 tonnes, equaling a net export value of N$250 million.
The Aussenkehr grape producers include Cape Orchard Company, CoolFresh Namibia, Namibia Grape Company, Orange River Vineyard Investment, Namibia Vineyard Corporation of Companies (Navico), which include the Exotic International Company, Namibia Grape Exports and Nivex owned by the Aussenkehr farms landlord Dusan Vasiljevic.
Meanwhile, according to the Deputy Minister of Works and Transport Kilus Nguvauva the Aus/Lüderitz railway line is due to be completed by June next year. “This will enable mines and companies in southern Namiba and the northern Cape to optimise their productivity by utilising the Lüderitz harbour. Also, it is my pleasure to inform you that the repair works on the railway between Kranzberg and Tsumeb in the Oshikoto Region is progressing well,” said Nguvauva. He further noted that there is a need for the country to expand and rehabilitate its road infrastructure, adding that the rural areas are characterized by high levels of limited econonomic and employment opportunities, underdeveloped infrastructure and limted services making many rural communities depended on urban centres. He also expressed the hope that the effective implementation of the Namibian Chapter of the Global Decade of Action on Road Safety as approved by Cabinet in 2011 will reverse the current levels of road carnage on the nation’s roads. Ben Boshoff the Chief Engineer of VKE Consulting Engineers, who is the supervisor of the Rosh Pinah/Oranjemund road agreed that there is a definite need to upgrade the country’s roads and added that many roads in the //Karas Region are well beyond their 40-year lifespan. He agreed that because the road between Rosh Pinah and Oranjemund, which runs along the Orange River, traverses a challenging terrain it will require extensive professional work to ensure that it is an all-weather road with limited need for maintenance. Boshoff also explained that a special embankment will be constructed to protect the road from the onslaught of rolling rocks caused by erosion, as well as a special river bank to ‘tame’ the river. He further said there is a a serious need for the expansion of the B1 road for various reasons, including its width.
“Many of these roads have reached their theoretical lifespan and must be replaced. All of them must be broadened to be 7.5 metres wide with a 2.5 shoulder width. The roads are very narrow at present and it poses a serious danger at night,” he noted.
The road will be built by Raubex Pty Ltd under the supervision of VKE Namibia Consulting Engineers.
By Jemima Beukes