Mining operations at the stinking rich Kombat copper mine might have come to a premature closure but residents of the village are having none of that.
The beautifully crafted Kombat boasts a significant number of world-class infrastructure ranging from spacious houses and a fully equipped health clinic operating 24 hours a day, to a police station, post office and a primary school that accommodates more than 2 000 pupils.
The inevitable shutdown of the mine in 2008 left many families and households destitute with the majority facing a bleak future not knowing where their next meal would come from.
Nonetheless, some residents are hopeful the town has the potential to recover from its current quagmire, while they have found alternative employment on adjacent maize farms. Others have found refuge in neighbouring towns like Otavi and Grootfontein, where they do odd jobs to keep afloat.
Originally from Rundu, Esau Mushango is a training officer at the Rietfontein National Youth Service Vocational Centre. He lives happily with his family in the village that is renowned for its lush vegetation and lawns.
“The majority of the close to 6 000 retrenched workforce was transferred to sister company, the Otjihase mine, outside Windhoek, but those who have been grounded here are not sitting idle. People keep themselves busy by selling vegetables and fruit which they grow in abundance because the landscape here is extremely fertile,” Mushango told New Era.
Mushango, 35, could not heap enough praise on the town’s new sheriff, business mogul Knowledge Katti, whom they describe as “manna from heaven”.
“Katti is a good man with a kind heart for the poor and those entangled in the web of financial dire straits. His arrival is a godsend and has given us renewed hope because he does not charge the residents a single cent for rent and has given each household N$300, while the water is free,” related Mushango.
Mushango believes the town has great and untapped commercial potential.
He expressed disappointment with some of the country’s leaders whom he accused of just driving past the town without making the slightest of efforts to acquaint themselves with the plight of the town’s residents – let alone take a closer look at the commercial sleeping giant.