Hardships continue at Onamatanga

31 July 2019 | Education

The Onamatanga community is irked by the abandoned 40-kilometre Omakange-Onamatanga gravel road and the ongoing water crisis in the area.

The Roads Authority (RA) and the transport ministry, through the Omusati regional council, awarded a tender to the Roads Contractor Company (RCC) to construct the road in November 2013, but up to now the RCC only managed to de-bush part of the road.

The community also reported that the long-term water crisis at the remote village in the Ruacana constituency is yet to been resolved.

Life is tough at Onamatanga, as the area is only accessible via four-wheel drive vehicles.

The dust makes for dangerous driving conditions, and during the rainy season, the village is not accessible at all, while community members are also struggling with water due to the drought.

Onamatanga Primary School principal Johannes Shaanika said teachers are struggling to get water from Omakange for the school, and the road situation is a huge part of this challenge.

“We have to make sure that there is water at the school for the teachers to use and also for school feeding. Every day one teacher has to drive 40 kilometres to Omakange to get water. However, due to the road situation, sometimes teachers do not want to risk their vehicles. We have a water reservoir at the school that collects water during the rainy season, but due to the poor rainfall this year, there is nothing in the reservoir,” Shaanika said.

“Another challenge is that when we are getting water, the aim is to supply the school only, but we are also assisting community members who need water to take their medication.”

In 2013, the RA drilled a borehole for the community, while planning the construction of the Omakange-Onamatanga road.

Shaanika said the borehole was functioning and community members were benefiting from it, but later they were told by officials from the health ministry that the water was not fit for human consumption, despite the fact that the borehole had improved their lives, because they used the water for cooking and drinking.

“Apart from the water crisis, the school has poor sanitation and no toilets for learners; they are using the bush when nature calls, which is dangerous to the health of the community, especially during this time of hepatitis. The government should look into this matter seriously,” Shaanika aid.

He said it has now been six years, but they still don't know why the RCC is failing to finish the gravel road.

Shaanika said construction work was abandoned a long time ago, yet the RCC remains on site.

“We thought it was a relief for us to get a gravel road, but now we don't know what happened. There are many cases of community members who either died or gave birth while on the way to hospital, because of the condition of the road,” Shaanika said.

Last year the transport ministry approved further funding of N$36 million for the construction of the gravel road, after the RCC, which was originally awarded a N$21 million tender to construct the road, failed to make headway on the project.

ILENI NANDJATO

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