Ongwediva-The Oniipa Town Council needs at least N$5.6 million to compensate communal farmers in the town’s reserves in order to pave the way for development.
CEO of Oniipa, Junias Jakob, said communal farmers have been waiting to be compensated for at least six years to free up land for housing development.
The CEO’s sentiments were echoed by the town mayor Mannetjies Kambonde who said that compensation is currently the biggest challenge faced by the council.
“We have developers knocking on our doors every day but developers cannot build on land that is not compensated for,” said Kambonde.
According to Jakob the council has recently started generating a little revenue from municipal services.
In the meantime, Jakob said, the council does not have sufficient funds to run errands at the town as the subsidy received is only enough to cater for salaries.
He said the council still has a long way to go in generating 100 percent revenue from land sales and municipal services to fully sustain itself.
Earlier this year, the CEO told New Era that although the council is struggling to compensate landowners, adequate progress was made during the 2015/16 year.
He said 20 landowners were evaluated, but the council only procured N$900,000 instead of the N$1 million needed for compensation.
Amidst the financial crisis to develop the town, the Oshikoto Regional Council is pushing for the town council to construct a N$92-million structure while the council had only budgeted for N$13 million.
The council has resolved that new designs ranging between N$15 million and N$30 million be drawn up for the office which currently only houses 16 staff members, as opposed to the building design with 104 units. “The office is not a priority. We are facing an economic hardship and with the dwindling funding of subsidy from the government, we cannot build an office of such magnitude,” said Kambonde.