The president of the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN), Katrina Shimbulu, says it is high time local authorities are represented in the parliamentary house of review, the 42-member National Council, which is the upper chamber of the bicameral parliament.
She said representation of two to three members in the National Council would aid in the dissemination of information concerning local authorities and further stimulate debate to find amicable solutions to issues deemed challenging within various local authorities.
She said while there are various platforms to communicate issues affecting local authorities, seats in the National Council would give the country at large an opportunity to partake in the development of local authorities, to give input on availed opportunities and identify further opportunities.
“These days we only hear of other towns’ successes through the media, otherwise it circulates among a few who know within the local authorities. Hence, we need to move into the existing body, or create another body which will speak for local authorities,” Shimbulu said.
She made the remarks during an interview with New Era on Wednesday, in which she said the country at present is aware of what is happening in the constituency and are able to give input, but asked: “When are we going to have the whole nation partaking in our activities?”
Shimbulu said the association is currently visiting various local authorities to identify challenges, opportunities and interventions that can be taken to address the challenges. So far, the association has visited Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Hardap and //Karas regions. The next stop will be at Oshikoto today.
She said some of the challenges observed in the regions include a lack of serviced land, high unemployment, a failure or inability to pay for municipal services and the natural contours of some areas, such as Opuwo, which make it difficult to develop such towns.
She said while there is plenty of land available in many towns, the land is not serviced and local authorities face major challenges to secure funds to service land.
Shimbulu, who is also the mayor of Oshakati, said once the familisarisation visits have been completed ALAN will then craft a focal policy to assist local authorities to implement their identified opportunities.