By: Uakutura Kambaekua
Water challenges faced by the populace of Okangwati in the Epupa constituency will soon be addressed.
This is after the government, together with the Kunene regional council, approved N$30 million last month to fund the third phase of the Okangwati water plant that commenced in 2019 as they accelerate efforts to address 30 years of water woes in that village.
Phases one and two were completed last year with the drilling of six boreholes at Ohamaremba, located about 14 kilometres east of Okangwati and piping for a 6.5 kilometres radius to Okangwati.
Kunene governor Marius Sheya welcomed the project, stating that it should be implemented without delay.
“Yes, I think the first thing is appreciating government because the issues of the Okangwati water pipeline were elevated to the cabinet after we submitted. Then the budget was approved,” said Sheya.
He urged the contractors to work hand in hand with the traditional authorities.
“This exercise was deliberate for us to bring the contractors, the community, and the traditional leaders at one stage and level. Communication is key in avoiding unnecessary disagreements, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations of intentions.
This project is not only for the benefit of the people of Okangwati, Ohamaremba and all the villages here but for the entire region’s benefit. This means we want to be hands-on from the beginning,” noted Sheya.
Additionally, Sheya called on the recruitment of locals, adding that it should not be compromised while urging the hiring authority to exercise equitableness in the hiring process.
“Local people should be employed. We cannot compromise on that. The chiefs and the contractors must lay out a clear communication path regarding the setup committee.”
He also said the contractor should consult when appointing labours.
Furthermore, Sheya admitted the regional leadership failed from the word go to address Okangwati water woes. According to Sheya, the village’s government institutions have their own separate water points, which he says is wrong as residents are left to search for water elsewhere.
“Okangwati is a settlement with a lot of people and a lot of government offices, but we have found that each government office has its own water supply area. We failed. That is not the way how you plan when you are growing an area. You must be able to have water for every residence. You would see that Okangwati school, the police station, and the clinic have their own boreholes, but the community we serve has no water. It tells you that we are duplicating things, and we do not find time as government officials to sit at one table and understand that we are one,” charged Sheya.
Amongst other capital projects in the region, Sheya also reported that the Epupa clinic project, which has been idle for the last ten years due to financial constraints, has commenced. This includes upgrading the Hentis Bay, Uis to Kamajab to Khorixas road to bitumen standard.
“We have ensured that we get money for that project. The contractor is on-site, and we expect that contractor also to complete the project within a given period. We are expecting quite a lot of projects. The road project from Hentis Bay, Uis to Kamajab to Khorixas, we expect to be pushed by myself and the regional councillors.”
He said the leadership visited the project this year.