Keetmanshoop — The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration is in the process of building an office in Keetmanshoop to serve the greater Karas Region.
The regional office, scheduled for completion in November, will mark a new beginning for the management and administration of national documents, the population registry, facilitate lawful migration and receive and protect refugees and asylum seekers.
The ministry is currently aiming at computerising manually stored birth, marriage and death records and to reduce the waiting period for national documents from the current 90 days to 60 days by 2014, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Dr Elia Kaiyamo said during the ground-breaking ceremony this week.
"I am particularly proud because this region has excelled above others in terms of reaching universal birth and death registration, as well as the issuance of identity documents. The registration of birth is a child's right," said Kaiyamo.
The regional office will be located only a stone's throw from where the Old Mutual Mall is going up. "I am very pleased in officiating at this ground-breaking ceremony, and hope the new Home Affairs and Immigration office, will be of great use and service to the people of the south in terms of the provision of birth and death certificates, as well as identity and any other official documents," said the deputy minister.
Kaiyamo urged parents to register their children immediately after birth to ensure the child's name, identity, nationality and family relations are officially recorded without fail. "This would open doors and other rights such as education, health care, and participation in society for them," he said.
Karas Governor Bernadus Swartbooi welcomed the construction of the regional office, saying it is a development complementing many other development projects flowing into the region under the LÃ¼deritz Corridor Development Initiative (LCDI). Other developments envisaged for the region under the initiative include a dry port facility, a weighbridge, the Old Mutual Shopping Mall, customs and excise offices, a TB ward health facility, as well as the University of Namibia (Unam) southern campus.
He said the proposed dry port will be the main loading and off-loading facility for the transportation sector in a town through which at least 1 600 trucks pass in a month. "We want to make Keetmanshoop a strategic loading zone through this proposed dry port, which could add value to our business offerings," Swartbooi stressed.
Puma Construction was awarded the tender to build the regional office of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration under the supervision of McNamara Architects Namibia.