New Era (Windhoek)

25 September 2008

Namibia: Govt Won't Let Tsumeb Die - Mayor

Windhoek — Tsumeb Mayor Engel !Nawatiseb says the move to shift the Oshikoto regional capital from Tsumeb to Omuthiya will not greatly affect the economic potential of his town.

The regional offices already moved to Omuthiya a month ago.

!Nawatiseb said the town will only be affected minimally as some of the people working for the regional council had houses and paid for services to the municipality, while consumer buying power will also slightly be affected.

"Tsumeb remains Tsumeb, no reason to panic, people from outside are still buying plots to come and settle here after retirement," the mayor said.

!Nawatiseb said that Tsumeb is still growing as more and more investors are coming and construction is taking place, adding that the mine is also stable.

So people will still be able to get jobs as the mine is in the process of extending the operation of its smelters.

"Tsumeb is the destination of choice, and strategically located," !Nawatiseb assured.

He said Government is in the process of bringing an aquaculture and hydroponics project that will provide about 500 permanent jobs for Tsumeb residents and surrounding areas.

!Nawatiseb said these plans are advanced as Government has already requested money from Italy and is just awaiting its receipt.

"Government will never let us down. Government will not sit idle and let Tsumeb die," the mayor continued.

A hotel establishment worth N$25 million is planned at the Tsumeb Caravan Park, !Nawatiseb said. Most of the investors at the town are local entrepreneurs.

"The bottom line is that people of Tsumeb fully support the move of moving the regional capital to Omuthiya," added the Tsumeb mayor.

!Nawatiseb is of the opinion that all people should benefit from Government's administrative services, as well as services brought closer to them.

Moving the Oshikoto Regional Head Office to Omuthiya was described as Government's decision to expand infrastructure and bring social and economic development to all parts of the country in line with the Government's decentralisation policy.

A N$22-million regional head office was inaugurated earlier in August and staff members of the council moved into these offices already.

Staff members do not have accommodation yet, as construction of houses will only take place once the Omuthiya Local Authority election has taken place over the weekend.

Omuthiya was just fast-tracked from a settlement to a town, without going through the village state, which is the next level after settlement status.

The Development Planner of the Oshikoto Region, Michael Katsuna, said tenders for property developers are already out and the new town council will carry out the valuation role to determine the prices of erven.

He said the town council would sell the plots thereafter and allow people to build their houses.

"A number of people have already indicated that they want to build residential houses," Katsuna added.

Katsuna also noted that most line ministries' offices are currently operating from Tsumeb and Ondangwa, until the necessary infrastructure is in place.

Some retail shops have also shown some interest in doing business here, while the possibility of another petrol station exists.

Standard Bank has a branch at Omuthiya, while the First National Bank has a mini ATM in one of the shops.

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