Opuwo-Urban and Rural Development Minister Sophia Shaningwa has, rather audaciously, promised that no Namibian citizen will still be using bucket toilets in the country by the end of this year.
Shaningwa made the promise recently at the town of Opuwo where she was handing over school uniforms to rural schools in Kunene Region. According to her, she will not rest until the 50,000 rural toilets proposed under the social progression pillar of the Harambee Prosperity Plan are rolled out to the country’s most rural communities.
She said she would rededicate her ministry’s efforts in carrying out this task, so that rural communities also have access to proper sanitation, which includes putting an end to usage of the bucket system in schools and the broader communities.
The minister also urged the private sector to come on board and join hands with the government in improving the living conditions of rural communities.
Shaningwa, who was handing over 3,000 school uniforms to rural schools in Kunene Region, which were donated by her personal friend, the owner of Boundary Wholesale retail shop in Windhoek, said that rural communities could only be uplifted if all sectors of the country join forces. She handed over the donation in her capacity as the minister responsible for rural development.
She also took time to inspect houses built under the mass housing programme in Opuwo, where she expressed her disappointment over the slow progress of the construction of the houses, which are now in their 4th year of construction, despite totalling a little over 70. The site has been ideal despite the over 600 people registered on the Opuwo Town Council’s waiting list for housing.
It is alleged that contractors always abandon the project after complaining about finances which resulted in enlisting and changing more than seven sub-contractors already since the project’s inception four years ago.
Shaningwa stressed that government should not always be blamed for the financial difficulties the contractors find themselves in as sometimes they are the ones failing to pay sub-contractors.
“Strict measures will be put in place to deal with those kind of contractors who are just there wasting government resources,” she said.
The minster indicated that despite the financial difficulties the country is now experiencing, it is the ministry’s hope that the rollout of the mass land servicing programme will be carried out to other towns of the country as well.
• Lot Shikongo is a Senior Information Officer working in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Kunene Region.