//Kharas Governor Lucia Basson has described this year as challenging, saying development did not take place at a favourable pace.
In an interview with New Era, Basson said the year has been very difficult, particularly because of budget cuts by the central government. The region was severely affected in that almost all its capital projects came to a standstill.
She said while the budget cuts meant that most capital projects in the region were put on hold, which translated into job losses, many line ministries such as agriculture also did not have funds available to assist farmers, especially those in communal areas, which she said negatively impacted the lives of many people.
“This year was very challenging – it was tough especially for us in the region. The budget cuts meant that most of our projects could not be carried out, and some ministries did not even have funds to assist people, and it really affected and touched my people.”
She explained that as people who rely on farming, the residents of //Kharas were especially affected by the budget cuts as funds were not always available to assist farmers, especially those in communal areas, who experienced water shortages.
Although she acknowledged that development in the region has slowed down, she said there is gradual progress in many government projects, although at a snail’s pace, adding that she is confident the region is gradually getting on the right track.
She further highlighted the slow pace of decentralisation of finances to the region as a hindrance to regional development, while the high unemployment rate, alcohol and drug abuse, disputes amongst traditional authorities, high Grade 10 dropout rate and the lack of technical skills in the region are also of concern to her.
Basson however said despite the challenges, the message to the residents has always been not to depend on the government all the time, but make things happen for themselves, adding that she is glad and has taken note that more people have started doing things on their own and are interested in entrepreneurship.
“So although the challenges are there, we are moving on – we told our people that under these circumstances they should try to do something on their own.”