Okalongo could be downgraded from settlement

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Nuusita Ashipala

Okalongo-Okalongo could lose its settlement status if it is not upgraded to a village council by the end of this year. Given the slow pace of development the settlement is likely to be downgraded to what is called a ‘growth point’.

The Councillor of Okalongo Constituency, Laurentius Iipinge, told residents this week that Okalongo is not on the list of settlements to be upgraded to a village council during the current financial year.

Almost two decades since Okalongo was declared a settlement, there is still uncertainty where the settlement’s boundaries end, which is said to have derailed development.
Neighbours Ogongo – seen to have not much development to talk about apart from the University of Namibia agricultural campus it hosts – is already elevated to a village council.

Land transactions by both landowners and the traditional authority are still rife although the two do not know the settlement’s borders.

Illegal land transactions and unlawful construction within the jurisdiction have led to a slow pace of development and as a result no tangible development is visible.

It emerged at a community meeting on Tuesday that the borders might only be known to the then custodians of the land, the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority, because the current leadership is not in the know.

The meeting was conveyed by the Ombadja Traditional Authority, and the Okalongo constituency and settlement office.

It also appeared that the settlement administration is equally in limbo of the borders as they have allegedly also included in their list homesteads outside the settlement’s jurisdiction.
The meeting sought to address issues jeopardising the settlement’s upgrading to a village council.

Although 12 homesteads have already been compensated, no services are currently in place.
The community was equally shocked to hear that the settlement has serviced over 500 plots, claiming that such plots are non-existent.

“Unless they are ghost plots,” said one community member.
The community however expressed eagerness to overlook mistakes committed in the past and forge towards bringing about development.

Control administrative officer Amandus Kandowa said development at the settlement has been marred by a lack of finances.

During the last financial year, two million Namibia dollars was budgeted to put up water infrastructure at Extension Two, but the money was later diverted to other projects.
During the current financial year the settlement was only given N$3 million to execute its duties instead of the budgeted N$10 million.

The community has resolved to take a trip with the concerned authorities to mark the borders collectively.

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