The Minister of Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze, has called for the immediate merger of Oshakati Premier Electric (OPE) with the Northern Electricity Distributor (Nored).
Kandjoze says OPE must merge with Nored as soon as possible, so that there “should be no island within the RED [regional electricity distributor] establishments”.
Delivering a keynote address at OPE’s 15th anniversary celebrations, which coincided with the commissioning of electrification projects for Ompumbu and Okandjengedhi South, Kandjoze said many of the perceptions of and sentiments about REDs are not based on facts.
Although some REDs experienced difficulties after their establishment, “today all of them enjoy financial health”, Kandjoze said.
The OPE, which is headed by Fillemon Nakashole, is a subsidiary of the Oshakati Town Council. Over the years the company and its sole shareholder, Oshakati Town Council, have rejected a merger with Nored, making Oshakati and Windhoek the only municipalities operating independently of the REDs.
Nakashole said OPE’s financial margins, infrastructure and the extension of services to the residents of Oshakati have grown to greater heights over the years. He said the company, which started off with a turnover of a mere N$140 000, has grown to an annual turnover of approximately N$130 million.
The company has also grown in terms of staff numbers, from an initial six employees to 40 permanent employees, 20 temporary employees and six interns today.
Nakashole listed, among others, the upgrade of the 10MVA substation to a 20MVA unit, the provision of 346 street lights around the town, a total of 44 mast lights erected, as well as the electrification of all formalised areas in Oshakati, as some of the company’s major achievements.
Oshana Regional Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa, who was present at the event, congratulated OPE on 15 years of excellence. He said the company has done “a wonderful job since 2000”.
“Where there are investors putting up businesses, employment also takes place. People move from all corners of Namibia to stay in Oshakati … We, as the government, together with the Oshakati Town Council and OPE, also have to make sure that people have access to housing [in areas], such as at Ekuku, Ehenye and Ompumbu,” Kashuupulwa said.