Gam residents yearn for development

20 Sep 2018 15:20pm
By Charles Tjatindi
GAM, 20 SEP (NAMPA) – Residents of Gam, a tiny settlement in the Tsumkwe Constituency of the Otjozondjupa Region located some 400 kilometres north-east of Grootfontein, have implored Government to bring them much needed development.
Some residents who spoke to Nampa in various interviews on Sunday, said the settlement is crippled by a lack of development, which has led to a high number of unemployed people.
The settlement’s main employers are the Ministry of Basic Education, Arts and Culture through the only school at the settlement (Gam Combined School), the Namibian Police Force and a clinic.
Gam settlement came into existence in 1994 as a reception centre for returning Namibians who had been living in Botswana after being displaced by the Herero and Nama genocide, which took place early in the 20th century.
Daisy Tjizera, one of the first people to be repatriated to Namibia in 1994, said they still have to rely on outlying towns of Grootfontein in the same region and Gobabis in the Omaheke Region for their shopping needs.
This process, she said, is very costly as the price for transporting commodities such as cement, corrugated iron sheets and gum poles needed to construct dwellings, is very high.
“People (owners of cars) charge an arm and a leg for transport, but we do not have a choice and are forced to pay the high prices,” she said.
Tjizera said many of her children and grandchildren are stuck in Gam with nothing to do after completing high school, due to limited funds to send some of them for further studies, adding that State funding for further studies is also not accessible at the settlement.
Others, she said, do odd jobs in and around the settlement such as babysitting and gardening for other residents who are employed.
Another resident, Mbirijona Kamunguma said Gam remains but a large farm and not befitting the settlement status it is accorded.
“Just look around, there is absolutely nothing for people to do here. No jobs, no industries and no form of income,” he said.
Tjatjitua Kuvare, who also resides at the settlement, said the need for development in the settlement has forced residents, especially young people, to leave Gam and head for larger urban centres where their living standards are deplorable.
“Our people end up living in shacks in Gobabis, Grootfontein and Windhoek in the hope for better opportunities. It is really unacceptable that we cannot live and flourish in our own place,” he noted.
The residents have therefore called on government to bring more ministries to the settlement to provide employment and also to improve service provision for many of them who are unable to travel to towns.
Contacted for comment, Tsumkwe Constituency Councillor Fransina Gauz said Gam is facing teething problems as a newly-proclaimed settlement.
She said since its proclamation in 2016, Government has worked around the clock to address the developmental needs of the community.
“We brought a clinic and a satellite police station there, including a school. We will also be opening more Government offices in Gam as from the next financial year, funds permitting,” she said.
Gauz noted that most capital projects at the settlement, such as the upgrading of the clinic and police station, have been stalled by the unavailability of funds.