30 Jan 2014 10:00am
TSES, 30 JAN (NAMPA) Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs applauded the Aroab Village Council in the //Karas Region for successful work on sanitation and housing provision.
All residents of Aroab are connected to the sewerage system, have electricity and water at their houses, something not seen in many of the other villages or towns in this region.
Aroab is situated 172 kilometres east of regional capital Keetmanshoop.
The committee is on a one-week fact-finding visit on capital projects in the //Karas and Hardap regions, and started touring villages and towns as well as settlement offices in //Karas from 27 January.
Speaking during their visit to Tses village on Wednesday, deputy committee chairperson Elifas Dingara noted that out of all the places in //Karas, Aroab is the shining example.
I advise that all the leaders of villages, towns and settlements visit Aroab and ask the council how they managed to get rid of the squatter camps, and provide all the people with decent houses, sanitation and electricity, he beamed.
According to Dingara, Aroab is the only village which receives their capital projects money directly into their account, instead of receiving it through the //Karas Regional Councils (KRC) account.
Such money comes as an annual budget from the Ministry of Finance through the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD).
As such, Aroab has the advantage of properly planning and prioritizing which projects to fund, based on the needs of the villages people as the bureaucracy is reduced by having money directly deposited into their account.
Dingara further stated that during their visits to Karasburg, Noordoewer, Aussenkehr, Bethanie and Luderitz, the committee established that capital projects such as the provision of sanitation and housing have been rather slower than Aroab.
He, however, acknowledged that even if Aroab is doing better than the rest, the overall progress of such projects in the visited places is up to standard and progressing well.
Confirmation given to Nampa from the Aroab council on Thursday indicates that last year alone, they completed 39 houses in the Oosterheim Number Two residential area under the governments Social Housing Programme.
The one-bedroom houses with a kitchen and living-room were handed over to beneficiaries in October last year, and cost government N.dollars 2.2 million.
Village officials also confirmed that 12 Build-Together houses out of the 30 houses were completed, and beneficiaries moved in during November 2013.
At the moment, 60 erven on which more houses under the Build-Together programme will be constructed are being serviced at a cost of N.dollars 6 million.
The rest of the local authorities who receive their money through the KRC account say their money is not being released on time, and this delays the timely implementation of capital projects.
They also wish to have their money put directly into their accounts so that they could have the power to use such funds on time.
To do this, they need to convince the Local Government ministry that they will not misuse the funds, but use it for development.
Another complaint was that when the money is deposited into the KRC account, it accumulates interest. However, when it is given to the villages, they are supposed to get the interest generated. But, this does not happen.
The KRC apparently keeps all the interest to themselves, and just gives the initial amount to the villages and settlements, something the authorities of such places condemn.
Upon hearing this, Dingara promised to approach the Local Government ministry with a proposal to change the situation which has haunted the other village authorities for so long so that all money is put into individual village accounts, and they keep their interest.
The money generated through interest payments is supposed to come to the village councils, and be used for other developmental activities. It does not belong to the Regional Council at all, this must be rectified, Dingara stressed.
The committee members will compile a report and present it to Parliament after they complete their visits in Hardap on 07 February 2014.