Chairperson of the National Council Standing Committee on Urban and Rural Development, Phillipus Katamelo, has asked government to urgently address the water crisis in Okanguati in the Kunene Region where residents have resorted to using untreated water from a nearby sewage pond.
A recent visit by the committee discovered that Okanguati residents use sewage pond water for bathing and laundry.
Animals also drink from the pond which poses serious health risks.
Presenting the committee’s finding after visits to assess the sanitation progress in //Karas, Otjozondjupa, Kunene and Kavango East regions, Katamelo said it is disturbing to note that residents in the areas do not have access to potable water 28 years after independence.
“Okanguati settlement is developmentally challenged. Firstly, the gravel road from Opuwo to Okanguati is in a very bad condition and poses a threat to road users.
“Secondly, a total number of 8 boreholes were drilled at Ohamaremba, which is 15 km away from Okanguati, however, no installation has been made to channel water to residents.
“Lastly, the residents at Okanguati uses sewage pond water for bathing and laundry, and animals also drink from the pond which is a disastrous health hazard,” Katamelo said in his report to National Council.
The young lawmaker said lack of proper sanitation at Kosis and Grünau violates the inhabitants’ sense of self-respect and self-worth.
He said it is disturbing to see that provision of essential service is not given priority, but is rather deemed as a secondary or trivial activity.
He asked the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the Kunene Regional Council to address the water crisis as a matter of urgency.
“In order for the eight drilled boreholes to provide safe drinking water to the community, the committee recommends that the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development fast-track the process of allocating funds to Kunene Regional Council to enable the council to channel water from Ohamaremba to Okanguati settlement.
“The committee recommends that sewage pond at Okanguati settlement be fenced off to avoid residents from utilising the sewage water which is a disastrous health hazard.”