OKAKARARA – The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs visited various town and village councils in the Otjozondjupa Region to see how local authorities are spending taxpayers’ money and to assess whether the spending is aligned with the national priorities, as set out in the fourth National Development Plan and the Development Budget for the financial period between 2013/2014 and 2015/2016. The areas visited were Tsumkwe, Grootfontein, Otjiwarongo and Otavi. New Era accompanied the committee to some areas and here are the findings on some of the local authorities’ spending.
Tsumkwe Settlement: More than N$3 million was invested in the construction of a sewerage system, including decent toilets. The settlement requires additional money to repair an oxidation pump and procure a machine to dig trenches in the rocky area. At Gam more than N$4 million went into the construction of services and infrastructure.
Grootfontein Town Council: More than N$7.2 million went into the construction of toilets, as budgeted for in the 2013/14 financial year. A further N$3.2 million was spent on digging trenches, laying pipes and water connections. The community now has running water and a complete sewerage system including toilets and showers for the informal settlements. A new residential area has been serviced and 80 erven have been given to the community. The town is now servicing 57 new erven with its own financial resources. Grootfontein will see 450 new houses under the national mass housing programme.
Otavi Town Council: The council spent N$20 million to finally remove the bucket system in the town. The money paid for the digging of trenches, laying pipes, water connections and the construction of toilets. Now the council intends building a tarred road from the main highway into the town to attract visitors to the town. They also want to demolish the old compound to make way for better housing.
Otjiwarongo Town Council: The council spent N$7.7 million to upgrade sewerage and water reticulation, and for the servicing of new extensions as well as tarring roads. The town council installed 1 600 water metres in the informal settlement at Tsaraxa-Aibes location.
During the visit the local authority councillors had to inform the standing committee members on the phases and stages of projects in their areas, to see whether construction of projects had started, who the consulting engineers and constructors are, how many workers are employed, what percentage of work on the projects has been completed, how much of the total estimated budget has actually been utilised and how much was paid to contractors.
By Magreth Nunuhe