Kavango East Governor, Sirkka Ausiku, delivered the annual State of the Region Address (SORA) in Nkurenkuru this week, she touched on issues such as increasing crime rates, poor infrastructure funding as well as school backlogs.
Her address focused on matters pertaining to economic advancement, infrastructure development, social progression and human capital development of the region’s inhabitants.
Ausiku noted that high levels of poverty and unemployment remain the biggest challenge.
According to the Labour Force Survey of 2016 unemployment in the Region stood at 36.4% and among the youth at 52.6%.
“The Region also lacks services and experience a high number of teenage pregnancies and a high rate of school dropouts.
Our developmental challenges in the Region also remain the same.
Development is hampered by poor road infrastructure networks like feeder roads in the inland, inadequate water infrastructures, lack of rural electrification infrastructures, and limited telecommunication networks throughout the Region,” she said.
As expected, the Region is also experiencing persistant problems with Human and Wildlife conflict.
“Most of the inhabitants living along the Kavango River do not have safe drinking water and they depend on the river to draw water. Thus, there is a need to construct a water pipeline along our national roads in the Region,” she said.
Ausiku also expressed concerned over the status of the communal land administration, the illegal fencing off land, as well as the Traditional Authorities who allocate communal areas to private individuals as farms without consulting the affected communities that use the areas for grazing.
To address the existing challenges, the regional leadership last year developed a document highlighting our developmental needs that we deem important to be addressed by the Central Government.
It was submitted to the Office of the Prime Minister. “It is disappointing to note that most O/M/A’s did not consider our priority projects and programs like the Regional Government Office Park, the District Hospital, a fully fledge Secondary School with a hostel in Nkurenkuru, and one of our strategic (feeder) road D3446 and many others. All these projects except the District Hospital are also not in the current MTEF,” she lamented.
She added: “Although the Region is faced with these many challenges, they are not insurmountable. As I stated last year I am once again appealing to the inhabitants of Kavango West Region to remain patient and persistent to enable us to achieve our desired goal of developing this Region towards prosperity.” During the 2017/18 Financial Year, Central Government allocated a budget of N$157 million to the region for development programmes.
Since the region was created in 2013, she expressed concern because no new school was constructed.
The number of Secondary Schools, Combined and Primary Schools still remain the same at one hundred and seventy eight (178) schools.
The same applies to staff establishment that stands at one thousand seven hundred and ninety five (1795), out of which one thousand seven hundred and seventy three (1773) are filled positions, while 16% are unqualified teachers.
“It still remains a concern that many of our learners are being taught under trees not to mention the shortage of learning materials like textbooks, equipment and furniture, lack of hostels and teachers’ accommodations.
The Region is looking forward to the speedy implementation of Acceleration of School Infrastructure Program as highlighted in SONA 2018,” she said.
Ausiku appealed for the construction of a new full fledge Secondary School with a hostel in Nkurenkuru as well as a hostel at Katjinakatji Secondary School.
The governor said the region learned with concern about the intention of the Ministry to close down smaller schools, what the Ministry terms as “uneconomical schools”.
“These schools we understand are thirty four (34) in the Region. One school Rukura JP was closed during the period under review and some more may follow.
Our request to the Ministry is to handle this matter with care and do proper consultations with all stakeholders.
No school should be closed until proper intervention strategies had been put in place. No child deserves to be affected negatively at his/her formation stage,” pleaded Ausiku.
“The Region still has a backlog of schools and without electricity and we feel that they are a priority under the Rural Electrification Programme as a total number of 78 schools out of 176 are still without electricity in our Region,” she said.
The governor announced that there was a mixed bag in criminal activities compared to the preceding year.
During the period under review the following crime statistics came to light: rape cases 19 (decreased with 1 compared to last year), assault 102 (decreased with 12 compared to last year), domestic violence 50 (increased with 4 compared to last year), drugs 50 (increased with 18 compared to last year), house breaking 67 (decreased with 2 compared to last year), stock theft 51 (increased with 26 compared to last year), murder 16 (increased with 14 compared to last year), suicide 28 (increased with 4 compared to last year) and other theft 42 (increased with 36 compared to last year), reckless/negligent driving 45, culpable homicide 11 (decreased with 4 compared to last year), serious injuries 9, slight injuries 44, fatalities 11 and drunk and driving 50.
“These statistics are a concern to our Region as most indicated an increase compared to last year and we need to address them jointly as a Region,” she said.
While giving an update on the healthcare status in the region, the governor said the regional leadership is disappointed that the construction of Nkurenkuru District Hospital did not commence although there was budgettary provision.
The Ministry completed minor renovations at Nankudu Hospital, Gcwatjinga Clinic is open and final touches are being done at Nkurenkuru Health Care Clinic.
“The Region is appealing to the Ministry to complete the Nkurenkuru Health Care Clinic and opened it to the public.
Renovations at CDCs Clinics which was funded by donors at Sikarosompo Primary Health Care Clinic and nurses accommodation, Nzinze Primary Health Care Clinic and Yinsu Primary Health Care Clinic are completed, while the minor renovations project proposed for Rupara Health Centre and Kapako Primary Health Care Clinic are delayed due to lack of funding,” she said.