PLANS for the second phase of the Izimwe-Nakabolelwa road in the Kabbe constituency have started, and include the construction of water drains and a gravel road for about 33 kilometres to Kasika.
Upon completion, it will allow locals in flood-prone areas to have access to public services.
The first phase of the road, which was the construction of the 21,8 kilometres gravel road from Izimwe-Nakabolelwa, was completed last year, at a cost of about N$43 million.
Community members of the Kabbe South constituency have been suffering for many years because route DR 3524 is located in the Zambezi and Chobe river valleys, which makes it inaccessible during the rainy season and floods, and this makes life difficult for locals.
The deputy minister of works and transport, Sankwasa James Sankwasa, who was addressing the local community during a consultative meeting on Friday, expressed disappointment at the fact that the project which started in 2015 has not been completed because of resistance from the locals.
"I am not very pleased with the progress of this project because it was initiated in April 2015, and was supposed to be completed by now. Engineers were sent to start the work, but instead, we got a report that the people are rejecting the road. You jump up and refuse progress, and then say government is just for the Aawambo.
"I have toured this country, I have been to different regions. I lived at Oshakati before independence, and I know how the Aawambo transformed their independence into reality, which we are not doing in this region.
Here, we resist development because 'this is my small field', which is not even a hectare, even when compensation is offered for it," he stated.
Sankwasa further noted that the completion of the road is very important because it will allow locals to have access to essential public services such as schools and health facilities, which they are unable to reach during floods. Therefore, the locals should not resist development, but assist in every way possible.
"The local community around here should provide free labour, and not only want to be compensated. Public interest should supersede your individual interest, hence you need to assist in any way possible for the betterment of your own children tomorrow.
"As they are planning, the engineers would depend on indigenous knowledge.
The engineers you see here know nothing about the floods that happened in 1974, so they have to depend on you to find out how deep this depression is," he stressed, adding that they want to avoid a situation which happened on the Luhonono road, where the bridge that was constructed flooded right into a village, and also to avoid having graves excavated.
The chief executive officer of the Roads Authority, Conrad Lutombi, said the completion of the second phase of the road was also hampered by a lack of funds due to the financial crisis which government is facing.
"We were supposed to start the planning of this project last year, but unfortunately, as you are aware, as a country we have had economic headwinds. Therefore, we could not commence erecting temporary bridges at Ishuwa and other places.
However, we have appointed a team of engineers to start detailed designs of the road because we felt if we put a temporary structure which is not designed well, it will cause accidents," he noted.