Government has put in an additional N$33m for the Oshakati town for the restructuring of the drainage system and the deepening of the Okatana River to mitigate against floods.
The money from the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development is part of the N$50m needed by the town for the implementation of its Master Plan submitted to Cabinet in 2008.
The Master Plan, approved by Government in April this year, is expected to turn the northern commercial town into a properly planned and well structured settlement area for the residents.
Jackson Muma, the town’s public relations officer, told The Villager that the implementation of the Master Plan will result in major developments and redesigning of Oshakati to make it more attractive to local and foreign investors.
“We want Oshakati to flourish and continue to serve northern Namibia as the main hub of business activities. To achieve this, we need to redesign the town according to the approved Master Plan which is being implemented in phases,” said Muma.
Muma said the first phase which involves the servicing of the land has already commenced and will make way for the development of new residential areas.
He added that informal settlements such as Oshoopala, Eemwandi and Sky will be completely relocated to higher grounds as they are annually affected by floods.
As part of the Master Plan, Oshakati will be rezoned into residential areas, a business district and an industrial zone. The town aims to be on par with other towns in terms of infrastructure development and town planning.
Unlike other towns in the world that are well planned and designed, Oshakati started as an informal small settlement with cuca shops lining along the main road until it was proclaimed as a town after independence.
In recent years, the town has been the scene of severe floods that have threatened to close down businesses. The floods that have now become an annual phenomenon affected both business and residential areas on low laying areas.
This prompted the town council to submit a master plan to Cabinet in order to overhaul the design of the town and improve sanitation as well as drainage systems.
Muma told The Villager that as from next month the town council will commence with the deepening of the Oshana near Okatana to improve the flow of flood water through the town.
He expressed hope that the deepening will be completed before the next rain season.
“People that will be relocated from the informal settlements will be taken to newly serviced areas that are on high grounds and less likely to be flooded. They will also be provided with proper sanitation facilities to make their lives much easier,” said Muma.
Muma scoffed at the idea that Ongwediva is developing faster than Oshakati with most development projects now taking place there.
He said Oshakati does not consider Ongwediva as a competitor for business and development projects adding that the towns work together and that the Government has a clear policy on how the two major business centres in the north will co-exist.
“What you need to understand is that there is a plan to make these two towns’ major metropolitan areas. Hence I say we are not competing for business, we are there to offer services to our residents,” explained Muma.
Furthermore Muma added that development projects are not only taking place in Ongwediva but in Oshakati too.
He said some of the development projects taking place in Oshakati include the new multi-million open market, part of it already completed, the envisaged construction of the offices of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) and the Omugongo real estate complex which will house offices, apartments and a primary school.