Tsumeb serious with development

27 May 2016 | Business

The town of Tsumeb in the Oshikoto Region is busy addressing the issues of land and infrastructure development in order to create a conducive environment for its inhabitants.
This is according to Tsumeb Municipality CEO Archie Benjamin in a report which highlighted the achievements as well as challenges facing the town.
The report mostly touches on the issue of land and housing, indicating that the municipality of Tsumeb has a list of 2 065 people in need of housing.
“Council has a waiting list of 2 065 people in need of houses, especially in the middle- and low-income housing categories,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin said in order to meet the backlog, 600 erven is being serviced behind the Nomtsoub area to accommodate low-income groups.
He further said 450 erven have been approved for servicing, which will be done within the Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework.
“Extension 9, just opposite the cultural village is being surveyed. This area has been pre-allocated to seven developers to also meet the needs for the middle-income earners on the waiting list,” Benjamin said. The CEO further said the Tsumeb Municipality recently allocated 300 erven to the Shack Dwellers Federation for immediate occupation adding that hence 300 members will benefit from the allocated land the federation has completed 295 houses over the past two years.

Benjamin said the municipality has made good strides in attracting business to the town by making the business environment conducive for entrepreneurs, who in turn continue to plough back into the community.
He said some of the investments are the completion of the Dundee Precious Metal Acid Plant, which was worth N$3.9 billion, adding that over N$1.1 billion will be invested by Dundee to increase the capacity to melt more copper ore.
Benjamin also talked about the completion of the Tsumeb Meat Processing Plant situated at the northern entrance of the town, which will be used to slaughter, package and export meat products.
“The second phase of the Tsumeb mall has commenced. An addition N$40 million is being invested to ­accommodate more retail shops,” he said.
Benjamin said during the 2015/16 financial year, Dundee Precious Metal Community Trust invested over N$7 million in the upgrade of school infrastructure, upgrading 17 kindergartens, social welfare projects and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
He also indicated that a fruit and vegetable hub will be operational at the town soon.
Benjamin said the initiative will see the registration of fruit and vegetable traders who will be allocated trading units.
He said the construction of the hub will be funded by the local farmers and the land will be donated by the municipality.
Regarding the water issue, he said the Tsumeb municipal water bulk reservoir has been upgraded to enable council to provide sufficient water due to the increasing demand, which is attributed to more people moving to the Copper Town for greener pastures.

Meanwhile, Benjamin has also singled out a number of challenges facing the town, including rampant unemployment as well as slow land delivery.
Regarding the slow land delivery process, Benjamin says the process of land approval which is being done through the Namibia Planning Advisory Board (Nampab) is too sluggish.
“The current land approval process through the Nampab board is cumbersome and too slow, making it impossible to keep up with the current demand for land in all housing categories,” he said.
Benjamin therefore calls on the line ministry to look into the matter.
“Abolish the current laws, abolish Nampab and establish one central land approval board and decentralise some approval functions to the regional council,” he advised.
Regarding the issue of unemployment amongst the youth, Benjamin said the number of school dropouts each year make it impossible to generate enough jobs in the formal job market.
“The current SME development regime and the process of accessing finance without collateral leaves a lot of our young people on the fringes of despair,” he said.
When it comes to issues such as informal settlements, Benjamin said the current estimated Tsumeb residents living in shacks stands at around 7 000 households.
“This number alone represents an ablution backlog of 7 000 and is growing by the day as most people relocate to Tsumeb in search for better living conditions,” Benjamin said.