Founding president Sam Nujoma will spend at least seven days working towards the completion of the third phase of the Northern Railway Line Extension Project.
The 28-km portion of the project that also includes the construction of a bridge over the main road between Ondangwa and Oshakati will cost government at least N$300 million and is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
Construction of the Northern Railway Line Extension Project started in the copper town of Tsumeb in 2002. In total the entire railway project is projected to cost N$1.3 billion.
Nujoma has been the main driving force behind the construction of the railway line to the northern part of the country and has from periodically dedicated his personal time to work on the railway, joined by groups of local volunteers.
This time around Oshana Regional Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa, Oshakati Town Mayor Katrina Shimbulu and senior officials from the Ministry of Works and Transport, among others, joined Nujoma.
A group of about 100 trainees from the National Youth Service (NYS) also joined, as well as members of the business community, private organisations and institutions of higher learning, such the University of Namibia’s engineering campus also responded to the call.
Once completed, the project is expected to stimulate economic growth in the northern regions, especially in respect of the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, according to Nujoma.
“If everything goes according to plan the business communities around the country will be able to transport their goods by train straight to Oshakati. In this way the country’s roads can be preserved and road maintenance costs will be reduced. Road accidents will be also reduced, as there will be fewer trucks on national roads,” he said.
Kashuupulwa, who was also volunteering on the project, said the railway line would promote development, economic growth, eradicate poverty and create employment opportunities in and around the region.
With the completion of the Tsumeb-Ondangwa-Oshikango railway line and the Ondangwa-Oshakati railway line, Namibia will have a railway network stretching from the Ariamsvlei border post in the far south to Oshikango border post in the far north.
Nujoma believes his dream of the railway from Oshakati through Elim, Okahao, Opuwo and to Cape Fria in the Kunene Region (which is mooted as the location of Namibia’s third harbour) will be realised if people are committed to volunteering their labour.
To date over 100 homesteads have been moved to make the way for the railway line. An amount of N$7 million was spent to compensate villagers whose homesteads were affected.