By Elvis Muraranganda
ERONGO Regional Governor, Cleophas Mutjavikua, says that liberation icon and former Robben Island prisoner, Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, was deeply concerned about ongoing shack fires in the region, as well as the delivery of affordable and decent houses for the poor.
Mutjavikua said this week that he had spoken to the fallen anti-apartheid stalwart recently, during the announcement of plans by Tunacor Group Limited to construct a N$160 million fishing vessel, which has been christened Oshiveli – an Oshiwambo word meaning firstborn.
Ya Toivo died last Friday in Windhoek, triggering a huge outpouring of grief across the country and the SADC region, especially in South Africa.
Ya Toivo had been serving as the chairperson of the Tunacor Group at the time of his death, and was present in Walvis Bay late last month, when the construction of Oshiveli was announced at a gathering that included Mutjavikua and Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister, Bernard Esau.
Tunacor has revolutionised the fishing industry, since its inception in 1958. In 2014, the company became a wholly Namibian owned business, with 21 Namibian companies and two social responsibility trusts currently having shares.
Mutjavikua said this week that Ya Toivo had told him at the Oshiveli fishing vessel construction launch that he was deeply concerned about the housing situation at the coast, after close to 40 families were left homeless and destitute, when their shacks burned down in Walvis Bay’s Tutaleni residential area.
“When we were chatting, the issue of housing came out prominently. He looked at the issue seriously and wanted to find out what we are doing, amidst the shacks that are burning,” Mutjavikua told Confidente.
“I briefed him on what we are doing, especially at Farm 37. I informed him that we are looking at constructing decent, affordable houses,” the governor said.
The Farm 37 project is a housing initiative on the outskirts of Walvis Bay, aimed at providing affordable land and housing for landless coastal residents.
“I shared the vision with him, and that we are proposing a green village. I also informed him how we would like the fishing industry to join in,” Mutjavikua said.
“It is difficult for one to describe Ya Toivo. He was a principled man, who was passionate about the social upliftment part of business.
“While the profit motive is there, as a motivating factor in business, he was ultimately more concerned about the human side of things, more specifically, social upliftment,” Mutjavikua said.
He added that Ya Toivo’s immense contribution to the fishing industry was towards the housing of his employees.
“When you spoke to him, the issue of housing always came out prominently, as it was matter close to his heart.”
Commenting in how the region would honour Ya Toivo for his contributions to Namibia, Mutjavikua explained that he is yet to meet with other leaders in the region, to discuss a befitting and appropriate action.
He, however, announced that he plans on leading a large delegation to Windhoek, to witness Ya Toivo’s upcoming State funeral, and burial at Heroes’ Acre.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015