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The Omaheke Regional Council has recently been making headway with the implementation of capital projects, mainly due to the recruitment of in-house technical staff members.
Before the recruitment of internal technical staff, the Regional Council relied entirely on external consulting engineers to supervise its capital projects whose professional fees meant a reduction in the project’s scope of work.
With an in-house technical staff complement, most of the capital projects are now supervised and coordinated internally. The planning, feasibility studies, design and documentation phases of the project are also done internally. Therefore, the challenges the Regional Council has faced over the years related to the implementation of capital projects are fast becoming areas of improvement.
Challenges faced were mainly due to some consultants failing to supervise projects efficiently and some contractors lacking the capacity to efficiently execute projects, resulting in slow execution of projects and poor workmanship.
Most of the capital projects are aimed at increasing serviced land by providing water and sewerage services as well as roads and solid waste management services in the settlements.
Epukiro Post 3 and Tallismanus Settlements
Two projects have recently been completed at two of the biggest settlements in the region, namely Epukiro Post 3 and Tallismanus, with 73 erven connected to the sewer system in Tallismanus and the installation of two boreholes at Epukiro Post 3. Residents of Epukiro Post 3 were subjected to salty water which is not suitable for human consumption. However, with the installation of the boreholes, residents now have access to potable water.
Additionally, the sewerage pump station in Epukiro Post 3 will be rehabilitated during the current financial year in order to improve the sewerage system in the settlement.
The construction of a 50 meter high elevated tower with a 300 m3 water tank in Omitara is aimed at solving the persistent water crisis in the settlement. Phase one of this project, which started in March 2019 and involves the construction of a steel-reinforced base, has been completed while phase two will start during the 2019/2020 financial year and will entail the construction of the actual water tower.
A large population of the Witvlei local authority will soon have access to improved sanitation once the on-going project of upgrading the sewer reticulation network in the whole village has been completed. This project, which started in September 2016, also includes the construction of a 400 m3 trickle filter plant – a sewer water treatment system – and the completion of this project is expected towards the end of October 2019.
Corridor 13 and Buitepos Settlements
In Corridor 13, 54 erven will be connected to the 900 meter sewer line currently under construction since February 2019 as well as the construction of a new sewer pond and the renovation of two old sewer ponds by September 2019.
Meanwhile, two boreholes are being installed at Buitepos and are aimed at increasing water supply at this border settlement. This project, which started in January 2019 is expected to be completed towards the end of August 2019.
Aminuis and Summerdown Settlements
During the current financial year, Omaheke Regional Council has earmarked the construction of a 900-meter gravel in Aminuis Settlement as well as construction of a solid waste dump. A 40 m3 9 meter high elevated water tower is earmarked for construction in Summerdown Settlement.
Both these projects are still in their initial stages and contractors are expected to be appointed during the second quarter of the financial year.
Growth Points: Drimiopsis, Tsjaka and Eiseb 10
Recently, the construction of service infrastructure has also begun in the growth points of Drimiopsis, Tsjaka and Eiseb 10, with the aim of upgrading these areas to settlements which would enable the Regional Council to provide municipal services to the residents, as required by Section 32 of the Regional Councils Act, Act No. 22 of 1992. Some of these services include water and electricity supply, provision of a sewerage and drainage system, refuse removal, housing and leasing of land.
In Drimiopsis, a small growth point located 50 kilometres northwest of Gobabis, the Regional Council recently installed a borehole with a solar pump system and constructed a 3.4 kilometre water reticulation line. The renovation of water fittings at 64 houses will be done by February 2020.
Another elevated water tower of 60 m3 and 50 metres high is under construction since February 2019 at Tsjaka, a growth point located 70 kilometres south of Gobabis. A pipeline measuring over one kilometre as well as nine standpipes will be construction from the water tower to the growth point.
The community of Eiseb 10 – a growth point located 380 kilometres northeast from Gobabis – will soon have access to improved sanitation once the on-going construction of a sewer pump station at Eiseb 10 has been completed and funds have been secured for erf connections to the pump station.
Sustainability of Infrastructure
The sustainability of service infrastructure is a joint effort of both the Regional Council and the beneficiaries of such infrastructure. While continuous maintenance of infrastructure is necessary to ensure longevity and efficiency, communities are encouraged to refrain from vandalising and misusing the infrastructure.
Blockages of sewerage systems have been reported in some settlements as unsuitable solid waste household items are flushed down the systems, which costs the Regional Council substantive amounts to repair. Such blockages have caused overflowing of sewer water from manholes, creating sewer ponds – a breeding ground for water-borne diseases such as Cholera, Dysentery, Hepatitis E and others. Furthermore, some community members use this sewer water as drinking ponds for their livestock, thereby aggravating the unhealthy conditions in settlements.