The flip flopping geniuses

11 September 2015

Twenty five years after independence we seem to have found no solution to the water and electricity challenges that continue to haunt our arid to semi-arid country.

The importance of water and electricity to both human life and industrial development cannot be overemphasised but the way we have gone about trying to resolve these challenges seem to suggest otherwise.

Our water challenges have been highlighted with confirmation that the dams supplying water to the central parts of the country could run dry next year, if we don’t receive meaningful rainfall during the upcoming rainy season.

With this reality in mind, it is mind boggling that nothing substantial has been done to prevent this possible national security threat.

We are lucky that our country is surrounded by the Indian and Atlantic oceans where we can build desalination plants to supply our homes and industries. 

For years now, NamWater has struggled to build its own desalination plant something which Areva Namibia demonstrated can be done.

When Government put the 250 MW Erongo gas-fired power plant on ice around May, we were told that it was expensive and it would be better and cheaper to develop the Kudu gas project that has been on the cards since the 1970s.

Now we are being told that Government does not have the money to develop the Kudu gas fields and it is looking at other cheaper options.

Former NamPower MD Paulinus Shilamba, for all his challenges, ensured that the country was never in the dark despite the lack of adequate generation capacity.

Informed of the dire electricity situation in Southern Africa, he was right when he said we urgently  need to build the Erongo power station to bridge the power supply challenges facing the country until Kudu comes on stream.

Unfortunately, politics got in the way of common sense and Shilamba was sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. I hope this decision will not come back to haunt us one day.

Government strategies of Growth at Home and value addition will just become buzzwords that means nothing if we cannot guarantee security of supply of both water and electricity to industries.

This dilly dallying by the Government must stop.  We need policy consistence to ensure that we focus on the right electricity and water infrastructure projects.

Unlike the housing crisis which was averted at the eleventh hour through a marathon meeting at State House, developing power or water infrastructure is not child’s play.

It takes years to plan and execute such projects and fire fighting techniques employed to avert the looming land crisis will not work to resolve our water and electricity challenges.



The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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