12 July 2018

Namibia: Officials Squabble As New School Lies Idle

AN ABANDONED newly built school at the Neu Sommerau government resettlement farm near Kombat has stirred up a blame game between the land reform ministry and the Otjozondjupa Directorate of Education.

There are more than 2 000 residents on the farm, while most of the children attend primary school at Kombat, about 10 kilometres away.

The N$2 million school of four classroom blocks with two teachers' quarters and ablution facilities was constructed by the education ministry in 2015. Since its completion in 2016, the school has not been operational.

The Otjozondjupa regional education chief development planner, Veziruapi Tjombonde, expressed displeasure at seeing scarce government resources being wasted in such a manner because of a lack of coordination between her office and that of the land reform ministry.

Farm Neu Sommerau belongs to the land reform ministry, which carried out land surveying for different purposes, mapping and marking the boundaries of farm units in 2013.

Tjombonde said the school will not open until electricity, potable water and sewage network connections are made.

She said the land reform ministry had failed her office since it promised to channel services to the resettlement farm, which the directorate of education would then easily tap from and connect the school.

"It was even them (land reform ministry) who showed us where to set up the school, which is aimed at educating children on the farm from pre-primary up to Grade 3," Tjombonde claimed.

On his part, the deputy director in the land reform ministry at Otjiwarongo, Gotlieb Elifas, said the new school buildings do not belong to his ministry.

He added that the ministry which built the school should connect electricity, water and sewage pipelines to the school.

Elifas even urged the education ministry to drill a borehole for water as an alternative measure.

On Tuesday, the education ministry's permanent secretary, Sanet Steenkamp, referred the matter to Tjombonde, or the Otjozondjupa Regional Council.

- Nampa


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