Kombat-While he is extremely happy with the overall performance of the learners, Joseph Maseka, a Mathematics teacher at Kombat Combined School, says if they are to keep the learners’ performance intact, the issue of classroom shortage and overcrowding needs to be addressed.
Speaking to New Era on the sidelines of a recent sports festival held at the small village of Kombat, Maseka asked the government to consider building more classroom blocks at the school to cater for at least 100 pupils, as classrooms are currently overcrowded and unmanageable.
Through efforts of the school board, with the assistance of businessman Knowledge Katti, three tents have been erected at the school to help absorb the influx of learners. Maseka said the tents have at least provided temporary relief but he insists that more needs to be done to address the shortage of classrooms.
Since the school was converted into a combined school, now starting from pre-primary up to Grade 9, the influx of learners at the school has become uncontrollable over the past few years, as children from various nearby government farms and other surrounding towns all flock to the small village of Kombat in search of education.
“Some of these children walk to school from as far as 9km and the situation becomes worse during the rainy season or in the winter time. Most of their parents are just farm workers who can’t afford to organise daily transport for their children and there is also little we can do as teachers. But some of us who have cars sometimes help drop them off at various nearby points, just to make their walking distances shorter when returning home. But more needs to be done at the school,” said Maseka.
Katti, the flamboyant businessman, through his company Havana Investments, in 2015 bought the 308-hectare mining town of Kombat where the school is situated.
However, government solely operates the school and Katti said the little he can do to rescue the situation is to avail a piece of land for the construction of additional classrooms once government avails resources for such an undertaking.
“I will happily donate land to the Ministry of Education to build more classrooms and a hostel for the children that are staying at the government settlement farms,” said Katti.
He believes a hostel would come in handy for the school, as most of the learners do not have basic amenities such as toilets, electricity and potable water at their homes.
While Kombat remains under the auspices of the Otjozondjupa Regional Council, it has never had a town council to administer it. South African firm Grove Mining, which ran the local Kombat Mine, owned the town until Katti’s acquisition.
Grove Mining sold Kombat Mine to Manila Investments, in which Katti’s Havana Investments and State-owned Epangelo Mining each own 10 percent. Kombat Copper, a Canadian company, owns the remaining 80 percent.
Kombat Copper had acquired the town from Grove Mining, but Katti’s Havana Investments acquired the town from the Canadian firm to all but put the town’s full ownership into the hands of the Namibian mining entrepreneur.
Previously, companies that have carried out mining activities in the area, mainly the extraction of copper, have owned the town. Kombat is situated 37 kilometres east of Otavi on the B8 road to Grootfontein.
The town consists of a school, clinic and police station – in addition to a rugby and football field and a landing strip for private planes.