Outgoing Otjinene councillors’ legacy

By  Michael Uugwanga

THE outgoing Otjinene Village council committee has reflected on how it managed to bring much needed development to the town during its five-year tenure, which comes to an end on November 25 after the local and regional elections.

Otjinene mayor Landine Kauta said her team had managed to bring change to the town. There is one health clinic and a number of retail stores in an area characterised by communal farmers.

Despite lots of achievements under the current council such as the construction of a mini mall, a commercial bank, allocation of plots to the Shack Dwellers Federation and improvement of road infrastructure, construction of services, water and sewage, planning and surveying the town still faces lots of challenges.

In an interview with Confidente Kauta highlighted successes achieved and the challenges that the village council still faces.

“It was a privilege having been elected as a mayor of the town for five years. It was not easy because Otjinene village is a small village with new planning which was planned by the first councillors who served plus minus two years before us with a small budget.

“I will be leaving behind a Mini Mall, Standard Bank, Doctors consulting rooms, Dentist and pharmacy. The mall includes U-save, Style, Pep store and Elago. It brought convenience to the community at large by preventing them to travel to nearby towns to shop for essentials. It also created employment for Otjinene youth.

“There was improvement of service delivery at the service station. We had a shortage of diesel and petrol in the past whereby cars would be overcrowded at the service station waiting for petrol or diesel. But that was resolved by fixing their machines and also expanding their services and employed a number of youth from the community.

“At the office we also render service to the youth to come and do their in service training. In the past year we have had a couple of interns whereby we took two per period of six months and gave them an allowance. But as of this year we took a total number of five as most of the students were at home due to the pandemic and were begging us to give them something to occupy their time.

“Roads infrastructure also improved. We allocated more than 200 erven to Shack Dwellers Federation. We brought in prepaid water service which provides an income to the Village Council. The whole Otjinene Village will have these prepaid water systems and this will prevent the community to be in debt with the council,” said Kauta.

She also said that the reason why her team had been pro-active in bringing the needed development to the town is due to the good relationship the council continues to enjoy with its community.

“More applications of malls, service station, lodges, truck port, referral hospital and more are in the pipeline. I will score our council seven and up. Yes, we (council) did well under different circumstances, with the little resources we had. It is very important to hold public meetings with media because you have to keep them well informed of what is happening in the town. We have been proactive in this regard. Through my tenure there were no fights with management and the residents and we worked together until the end.”

The council also put in a resolution in place to prevent grabbing of land without the permission of the town council; to formalise the fast growing informal settlement of Ozohambo; to build an open market for street vendors and to relocate the dumping site.

“We had public meetings with the community and we also partnered with the University of Science and Technology Housing Action Group (NHAG) to formalise Ozohambo. To those who have been allocated erven we wrote them letters to let them pay.”

The next councilors who will take over the reins after the November local and regional elections will need to continue with the legacy that will be left behind by the outgoing leaders.

“Please take note during my tenure we divided our village into five wards. I want this to continue because it assisted my office a lot as a mayor. My thanks also go to the Village Council administration, the CEO and  fellow councilors said Kauta.