Mariental-Hardap Governor Esme Isaack says she is convinced the region is moving in the right direction in terms of development.
Speaking during her state of the region address (SORA) at Mariental on Friday, Isaack said the primary focus of the region is to enhance skills development, uplift the livelihoods of inhabitants, create entrepreneurial opportunities for economic advancement and eradicate poverty and hunger.
The regional head said one of the biggest achievements of the region, despite the challenges many residents face in setting up businesses, is small and medium enterprise development, with 480 businesses registered during the 2016/17 financial year compared to only 42 during 2015/16, which she said is evident of the determination for economic independence of the region.
“The main obstacles hampering growth in this sector include prohibitive financing and collateral requirements, absence of marketing avenues and lack of land in local authorities,” she said.
Isaack also touched on land, housing and sanitation, stating there is a great demand for urban land and thus local authorities have the responsibility to make land available to residents.
She also said that houses under the mass housing programme are being handed over on a “continuous basis”, with 28 houses handed over at Mariental, while a further 40 houses are completed and will be handed over soon, while 27 of the 62 houses constructed at Rehoboth have been handed over.
On sanitation, Isaack said the region is making significant strides to provide proper ablution facilities to residents, with 298 toilets under construction at various settlements at a cost of N$9 million, while the project has created 118 temporary jobs for mostly unskilled residents.
She further said the region has been allocated a further N$2.3 million through the Harambee Prosperity Plan, which is aimed at eliminating the bucket system, and 128 toilets are under construction, with completion date set for end of July this year.
Despite sharing some of the region’s success stories such as the upgrading of schools and hostels for a conducive learning environment, and improved overall health provision and improved infrastructure, Isaack said there is still a long way to go.
She said the lack of urban land, the prolonged process of town planning and the debt to utilities such as NamWater and NamPower are some serious challenges, adding that the demand for resettlement is much higher than available land, while the allocation of resettlement farms remains slow, and this, she said, needs collective thinking to tackle.
“Fellow citizens, these challenges call for individual and collective redoubling of efforts to remedy these situations,” she said.