Rundu Town Council is seeking municipal status from the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development. The quest for municipal status stems from the fact that Rundu is now the second largest town in the country, after Windhoek, a position that once belonged to Walvis Bay, which is a municipality.
According to the 2011 Population Census Rundu is home to 63 431 people, but Rundu Town Council CEO Romanus Haironga put the current population at way above 136 823 inhabitants, a figure quoted in 2013. It is estimated that the town will be home to 316 137 people by 2040.
“We have two plans that we are busy with. One is to request for the expansion of the town boundary due to the shortage of land for future developments, and the second is to request for municipal status,” said Haironga.
He did not specify what type of municipal status Rundu is seeking. Currently Namibia has two kinds of municipal status: Tier I which applies to Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund and Tier II municipalities, such as Gobabis, Okahandja and Tsumeb.
The growth of the town, according to Haironga, is a “result of good infrastructure development. We have attracted a lot of people to our town.”
According to the Local Authority Act, a town can be granted municipal status by the Minister of Urban and Rural Development if such town is able to, among others, fund its operations without subsidy from the government.
Haironga, nevertheless, says the town council is already hard at work to boost infrastructure in anticipation of even further growth in population.
“As a council we have put in motion ideas to develop different master plans. We already finalised the development of our 20-year structural plan, and we have also done with the roads master plan, storm water master plan, sewer and water master plan, as well as electricity master plan. These master plans will guide and inform us about the demand for services by residents in the current and in future,” he says.
The council has also availed land to the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) during the first phase of the mass housing programme, through which 318 erven were demarcated.
A total number of 64 houses been constructed and completed, while 28 social houses have been given to the council for allocation. Rundu Town Council has so far allocated 10 houses to qualified beneficiaries.
“We’re still receiving applications through the Build Together Housing Programme for future allocations. We’ve already identified land for the mass land servicing programme and we trust that we will be included for the next financial year as one of the beneficiaries with regard to budget provision by central government, so that we can achieve our goals, as per the Harambee Prosperity Plan,” said Haironga.
The council has also just completed the construction of the new fire station valued at N$6,5 million. Two main roads are being constructed in town: one is Maria Mwengere Road, which is being surfaced with bitumen at a cost of N$12 million, while the other is Eugen Kakukuru Road, which is being upgraded and widened at a cost of N$3,9 million.
“In the next financial year we are planning to do maintenance of roads at an estimated cost of N$4,1 million, and construct a storm water channel between Omashare and the police station at an estimated amount of N$6 million,” said Haironga.
He also wants the council to benefit from the mass land-servicing programme, just as Windhoek, Oshakati and Walvis Bay have benefited. “We expect and trust that we will be included in the next financial year,” he says.
To guide the growth of the town the council has aligned its strategic imperatives with the Namibian National Vision 2030 “to be a prosperous and industrialised nation, developed by her human resources, enjoying peace, harmony and political stability.”
Rundu has defined its vision as: “A city of diverse opportunities and a centre of socio-economic excellence”.
Following the launch of the Harambee Prosperity Plan for 2016-2020 by President Hage Geingob in April, Rundu Town Council developed its own ‘Harmonised Rundu Town Council Harambee Prosperity Plan’, in which they re-aligned their five-year strategic plan to fit into the Harambee Plan.
“This is what’s helping us to boost infrastructure development and attract investors to our town,” Haironga says.