Kalahari Constituency is an electoral constituency in Omaheke Region. It has 7,611 inhabitants according to the 2011 Population and Housing Census report. The constituency office was inaugurated in 2009 and is located in Tsjaka/Ben-Hur which is 50 kilometers away from Gobabis.
The Regional Councillor for Kalahari Constituency is Honourable Ignatius Kariseb of the Swapo Party. Hon. Kariseb is also the Chairperson of the Omaheke Regional Council.
The Kalahari Constituency borders Gobabis (the regional capital) to the west, Okorukambe to the north, Aminuis to the south and the neighbouring country of Botswana to the east. The constituency has one proclaimed settlement which is Buitepos and two growth points; Tsjaka/Ben-Hur and Drimiopsis.
Kalahari Homeless Shelter
About 11 per cent of households in Kalahari Constituency in Omaheke Region live in improvised housing or shacks. This, according to the 2011 Population and Housing Census, is a total of 190 households, the second highest percentage in the entire region, following Okorukambe (19 per cent) and Gobabis (37 per cent).
An assessment conducted by the Constituency Office further discovered that about 300 households in the entire Constituency are in need of decent housing. Blouberg, a small community close to the Trans-Kalahari border settlement of Buitepos, is the most affected by poor housing the Constituency. Other communities in need are Tsjaka, Vergenoeg and Drimiopsis.
The need for decent housing in the Kalahari Constituency has, therefore, necessitated the Kalahari Homeless Shelter (previously known as the Kalahari Homeless Indaba), an initiative of the Regional Councillor of that Constituency.
Tsjaka/Ben-Hur has a population of 1,100 inhabitants and is 50 kilometres from Gobabis, mostly on tarred road. Tsjaka/Ben-Hur has one school. Possible areas of investments are tourism, skills development, livestock farming and horticulture. Most residents of Tsjaka/Ben-Hur are employed in commercial farms surrounding the area. Other sources of employment and income include Ben-Hur Rural Development Centre, communal farming and small business activities. Besides the Kalahari Constituency Office, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry also has an office here.
Drimiopsis is a growth point located on the C22 road, 40 kilometres from Gobabis, branching from the Trans-Kalahari Highway joining the Trans-Caprivi Highway at Grootfontein. It has a population of 1,600 inhabitants.
There is one primary school and one high school in Drimiopsis. Businesses that exist here are a bakery, retail shop and a vegetable garden at the resettlement camp. Property development is a possible area of investment here. There is a boarding school in Drimiopsis where most of the residents of Drimiopsis are employed. The Ministry of Land Reform has also established a garden which creates seasonal employment to the residents of Drimiopsis farm. The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Land Reform have offices here.
Economic Development and Investment
Since the Trans-Kalahari Highway connects Namibia to Botswana and the Port of Walvis Bay as well as Trans-Caprivi via Buitepos Settlement, there is potential for the Kalahari Constituency to benefit in terms of logistics development that includes the construction of a truck port and storage facilities to support local and international trading. The landlocked countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Democratic Republic of Congo will be able to access their goods and services from facilities established in the Omaheke region along the Trans-Kalahari Highway. The weighbridge on the Trans-Kalahari Highway not only serves as a measure to control overloading but also provides the opportunity for any interested investors in the construction of a truck port.
High level discussions are underway to extend the railway line from Gobabis up to Gaborone which will improve regional trade relations between Namibia and other SADC countries. This will allow Namibia and SADC countries to engage in bulk business dealings, increase their economies in all perspectives ranging from employment, economic growth and balance of payment.
Tourism and accommodation
Given the fact that Buitepos is the border post, there is potential for tourists entering the country through Botswana. Therefore, there is a need to develop tourism enterprises and services.
Bush encroachment is a challenge that affects grazing, as well as free mobility of people and animals and availability of underground water in the Kalahari Constituency. This challenge can be turned into various opportunities such as producing wood and charcoal for energy. Projects such as this potentially reduce bush encroachment while simultaneously creating employment, and furthermore can serve as a source of energy.
In terms of cattle farming, there is the economic possibility of improving on the current livestock auction pens that market cattle in the constituency to potential buyers. These auction pens market cattle in terms of weight, quality and health of the cattle.
There are currently three auction pens, namely Tsjaka/Ben-Hur, Karoo at Gobabis and Windhoek Livestock Auction.
Ben-Hur Rural Development Centre
This development centre is already in operation and is situated at Tsjaka/Ben-Hur. It specializes in accommodation, catering services, conferencing, woodwork and carpentry. Learn more about Ben-Hur Rural Development Centre here
The following projects in the constituency need to be strengthened and supported in order to create employment opportunities for the inhabitants and render required services:
- Boitshoko Bread Making Project (Tsjaka/Ben-Hur);
- Selma Leather Project (Drimiopsis);
- Dantangos Chicken Project (Tsjaka/Ben-Hur);
- Stumbelbloc Brick Making Project (Nossobville);
- Community Goats Project (Netso & Vergenoeg);
- Kandovazu Bread and Shopping Center (Drimiopsis);
- Welding and Tyre repairs (Vaasdraai).
Sandveld Research Station
The research station is situated 92 km from Gobabis. The Agricultural research station researches adaptability of different livestock breeds and other as per request.
Pius Joseph Kaundu Training Center
The Pius Joseph Kaundu Training Centre is located at Houmoed. It is a police college responsible for conducting basic police training and its current intake capacity is at 500 students.
Vasdraai Agricultural Training Centre
Vasdraai Agricultural Training Centre is vocational training centre located at a resettlement farm (Vasdraai), 60 kilometres from Gobabis. The Centre was developed by Komeho Namibia Development Agency with funding by the Japanese Government through its grant assistance to the Grassroots Human Security Projects Programme.
The Centre offers a National Vocational Certificate in Horticulture & Crop Husbandry Level 2.