By Jade McClune
DURING a series of public meetings last week, the acting Chief Executive Officer of the Swakopmund Municipality, Marco Swarts, set out the spending priorities of council for the coming year. Swakopmund has since June, 2018, spent only 5.4 percent of this year’s capital budget of N$154.6 million.
Swarts attributed the slow spending to a number of delays the municipality had experienced in procurement since the introduction of the new Procurement Act. The acting CEO said Council staff were not yet accustomed to the new legal framework and the many forms that needed to be submitted.
Among the projects with a budget allocation of over N$500 000, he singled out the planned SME Industrial Park as one of the major initiatives to boost economic activity at the town. The SME Industrial Park will offer space to small businesses in Extension 10, in the vicinity of the salt factory near the railway line.
To boost job creation, 12 sites have been identified for mobile food kiosks along the beach, as well as two sites that were created for craft markets. The Open Market in Mondesa will be revamped and new trading premises designed for vendors who currently trade from the pavement.
A new brickmaking site will also be developed for 10 SMEs that specialise in brick-making and noxious business activities.
Swarts said the Swakopmund Council would prioritise construction a new water reservoir during the current financial year to meet the needs of the growing population and to buttress the water supply, “if anything should disrupt the feeder line from the Omdel, from where Swakopmund draws most of its water supply”.
Council further set aside N$5 million to resurface streets and roads, with priority given to streets and roads around schools. Atlantic Primary School was singled out for immediate upgrading. Rokotoka Street will meanwhile be upgraded to create new feeder lanes into the central business district (CBD).
An amount of N$6.6 million has been set aside to replace mid-block sewers located in residents’ yards by removing these onto the pavement areas to facilitate easier access and repairs when needed. Phase II of the mid-block sewer replacement will start in January 2019 and will initially focus on Ocks Lane, Baumgarten Street, Brockerhoff Lane and Franziska van Neel street in Tamariskia.
To maintain public health, a series of measures will be taken, including the purchase of a new Jet Vac truck to unblock sewers that become clogged and overflow from time to time due to the growing pressure on the aging sewer lines, given to the ever-growing population.
Swakopmund will also rehabilitate the old sewage treatment plant near the Council building, drain the ponds and demolish redundant structures. Additional refuse bins and a new refuse truck will be bought this year, as well as new public toilets constructed and upgraded at a number of locations.
Funds have been set aside for the planning of new residential areas. Swarts observed that there is sufficient land available for expansion, but “the only way to extend Swakop is towards Henties Bay.” He said they were looking at extending Kramersdorf – located to the southeast of the town – but because of the rocky terrain, the servicing of this area proved to be quite expensive.
The development of service infrastructure at the DRC informal settlement will also enjoy priority, as Council plans to install basic water and sewer infrastructure to the thousands of residents there, who have been without basic municipal services since the settlement started some 20 years ago.
A new satellite pay-point will be built at Erf 2310 in Matutura to also meet the needs of nearby DRC residents. Bids for the new satellite office will be invited by 24 October, 2018, and the project should be completed by June next year.
Regarding the financial management of the town, Swakopmund is in full compliance with all statutory financial reporting requirements, municipal officials said this week.
The municipality expects to generate around N$380 million this year through the provision of services, aside from the funds generated from property sales, which last year amounted to more than N$154 million.
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