Grootfontein grapples with challenges

24 April 2019 | Local News

Grootfontein residents are faced with a number of challenges, including filthy streets, escalating crime, high youth unemployment and lack of sanitation facilities, especially in informal settlements.

Ewi lyaNooli visited the town and engaged the local council on how it plans to address these issues.

Grootfontein, which has a population of about 25 000 inhabitants, includes areas like Blikkiesdorp, Hakahana and Omulunga, where thousands of residents reside in harsh living conditions.

The waste management challenge is highlighted by the fact that streets and open spaces have turned into dumping sites.

Municipal containers overflow with rubbish and heaps of filth are commonplace in some parts of the town.

Residents blamed the council, saying there are too few municipal rubbish containers, resulting in litter being discarded in open areas and even next to the containers.

Residents said the municipality should either increase the number of containers or empty them more than once a week.

Grootfontein municipality spokesperson Luke Salomo explained the containers are emptied once week, but if a container is full, they can revisit an area and empty it.

He said it is just a matter of residents calling their office and the council will respond.

“The containers are emptied once a week in all our residential areas of Grootfontein. However, I must state that when there is a need to revisit an area more than twice, members of the public are welcome to call our office and we will delightedly go and pick up such waste, especially if it is domestic waste,” Salomo said.

Residents also told Ewi lyaNooli that crime is rife in Grootfontein, especially in informal settlements where there are no satellite police stations.

A resident of Blikkiesdorp said one cannot go away for more than two days, as criminals will find a way to break into your shack and steal the valuables they find.

“If you leave your place unattended for two days or more you will be lucky to find your things in your shack. Here people will rob you, and by the time you open a case with the police, the chances of recovering your items is very slim. It's better that you get someone in the community and let them stay in your shack while you are away,” the resident said.

He attributed the escalating crime rate to high youth unemployment at the town, saying the majority of young people in Grootfontein are unemployed and have turned to crime as a means of making ends meet.

He further called on the police to consider setting up a satellite station at Blikkiesdorp, where thousands of people reside in informal conditions.

Salomo said the council works closely with the police to address the issue of crime and plans are afoot to bring a mobile police station to Blikkiesdorp.

“As a matter of fact, we have to make office space for the police at Omulunga, in order to bring police-related activities to the community of Omulunga and Blikkiesdorp.

Plans are still underway; I am informed they will have a mobile police station at Blikkiesdorp, in order to address the issue of crime in that area.”

KENYA KAMBOWE

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