Windhoek-It is official that the town of Oranjemund is now run by a public town council and is open to the general public to visit. As of October 14, the public will be able to visit the town of Oranjemund without acquiring first access permit to enter, the town council said in a statement issued yesterday.
Further, the council confirmed that Oranjemund residents will, as of September 2017, start paying for municipal services, as do all residents in other towns across the country.
“Council has put all systems in place to ensure accurate billing of all municipal services,” the statement read.
“The aim of the payment of services is to support council development plans, as well as to normalise the operation of the town,” it said.
Oranjemund – meaning “Mouth of the Oranje” in German for its close proximity to the mouth of the Orange river – was established in 1936 by the then Consolidated Diamond Mines (CDM). It has been a closed privately owned town, and existed purely for the purpose of mining operations and the mine provided all services.
Namdeb, the successor of CDM, took over ownership of the mine after independence. Namdeb is the 50/50 joint venture diamond mining company between De Beers and the Namibian government.
As such, the residents of Oranjemund town have never paid for municipal services since the establishment of the town.
The town council is now asking that all residents and private enterprises that have not yet opened accounts with the council, to “do so as a matter of urgency, failure of which punitive measures shall be applied to every case reported”.
Oranjemund was proclaimed a town council in 2011 and established a local authority in 2012. The council has now finalised an agreement on the transfer of assets, properties and municipal services and infrastructures that would enable the council to function independently of Namdeb, who is the current owner of the town.
The council further says the agreement on the transfer of assets and infrastructure “also focus on the property ownership for the residents of the town, [as it allows residents] to buy current properties in Oranjemund under the town transformation.”As part of the transformation agenda of the town, there is a 15-year collaborative programme of works, called Oranjemund 2030, which has been designed to drive the town’s transformation agenda. A steering committee is driving the programme.
“The aim of the programme is to remodel and reshape Oranjemund’s socio-economic conditions from an entirely privately owned, single economy to multi-faceted, publicly owned sustainable and thriving town,” the council said.