The dusty town of Karibib is one that is filled with growth potential, especially when considering its strategic location. Thus it comes as no surprise that the construction of a container terminal at the town tops the to-do list of the town’s chief executive officer, Lesley Goreseb.
The town’s leadership wants to take advantage of Karibib’s location as far as the transport corridor is concerned by transforming Karibib into a logistics hub.
Goreseb said the town has over the years been ignored by the architects of the country’s logistics masterplan, this happened despite the fact that Karibib is the only town through which all transport corridors to the Walvis Bay port passes through.
Goreseb wants Namport to help the town’s Council to set up a container terminal in the town.
This, he said, will ease the congestion on the roads to the coast while subsequently boosting economic activities in Karibib.
“We want a container terminal in the town. Karibib is one of the only towns in Namibia where all roads to the coast pass through. Trucks would then just have to pick up their loads in Karibib and return to their destinations. This would also create employment to our people and help develop the town,” he said.
Another item that is a must is the leadership acumen of the town’s leadership which has over the years crippled the town and strangled economic growth.
“This town has so much potential but the previous leadership did not do much to tap into that. The political instability and other unpleasant shortcomings may have been the reasons that scared investors to build the town but those days are over,” enthused the CEO.
Goreseb said the town is on the right path in terms of reforming the image that was once shattered and subsequently scaring off investors. “We have a lot of development initiatives in the town, some have already started and are geared towards employment creation and generally the betterment of the residents of Karibib,”said Goreseb. The town, through funding from government, is busy servicing 309 ervens, of which 90 percent is complete.
The council has also allocated 65 erven to the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia which will do the servicing themselves. Both premises allocated are geared to the sheltering of the residents of Karibib, at subsidized housing costs.
The town has also allocated 34 erven for institutional and industrial development which includes forecasted construction of the Karibib Vocational Training Centre. The council has also entered into a profit-sharing agreement for a solar plant.
Safety and healthcare
The town has about 5000 inhabitants with only one health facility which in Goreseb’s view operates like a clinic. He says the entire population including those coming from nearby settlements make use of the facility.
And as the population increase yearly, so does the crime.
Goreseb said although crime stats have increased in recent times, it is mainly stock theft on nearby farms.
The only police station in the town sits on the affluent side of the town, which leaves those in the informal Karibib miles away from the safety services.
In an effort to combat crime, the council built a mobile police station in the location three years ago. The station is still not operational.
“We built the mobile police station and up to now it is empty. The station commander on the other side told us that they do not have the man power to occupy the station. So as it stands, people in the location have to go to town to access police services,” said Goreseb.
Most of the town’s working population are employed at Navachab Gold Mine, located a few kilometers out of town.
Goreseb said the mine has undertaken minimal activities to grow the town.
“In normal settings, big companies play a big role in the developments of towns through their corporate social responsibilities projects. It is however not the case in Karibib which is home to the gold mine. Since I took over we tried to sit with them [Navachab], their concern was that we must clean our town. We still have to sit down and discuss ways in which they can help develop this town.” said Goreseb.
Fueled with political instability, greed and self-interest, the strained relations within the business community of Karibib is another reason for the town’s minimal growth.
Goreseb made reference to some abandoned buildings situated in the heart of town with two business personalities continuing to fight in boardrooms.
According to Goreseb, The Heritage Council has declined the proposed building design from Woermann Brock, a stance Goreseb says is denying the residents employment.
The CEO also highlighted the lack of interest from the bigger retailers to support the town. “Retailers like OK are just here for self-enrichment. They do nothing for this community. When we sent them letters for sponsorship, they stay away. But a guy who owns a bottle store in the street where we don’t even as a council bu from will give a 5000 at a gala dinner. The retailers will just complain about the street vendors when they sell veggies and they want us to chase them away.
So how do you expect the town to grow when those making money from it are not investing the money back in the community?” he queried
Goreseb is however optimistic that the town’s growth prospects are positive and indicated that the town’s leadership is on the same page when it comes to implementing programmes aimed to grow the town.
“The sky is the limit. The town has been struggling because it did not have a CEO for about two years and too much political infighting. We have moved out of the mud and I feel comfortable that we will move where we are supposed to be,” he concluded.