Whale Rock Cement, under its Cheetah Cement brand, has pledged to construct 10 classrooms per region starting next year, the SWAPO Party Youth League said this week.
The Windhoek Observer has seen a letter written by SWAPO Party Youth League (SPYL) Secretary Ephraim Nekongo on Monday, 23 September to the Executive Director in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Sanet Steenkamp, in which the youth league announced the pledge.
“Cheetah Cement has pledged to construct 10 classrooms per region through the SWAPO Party Youth League. This pledge came during the SPYL 2018 end of year function which was commemorated at Daan Vijoen, Windhoek,”Nekongo said in the letter.
Steenkamp’s office is said to be currently busy identifying schools in-need that would benefit from the project.
One of the schools that is expected to benefit is the Omatope Combined School, which is located about 40 kilometres north-east of Tsintsabis in the Oshikoto Region.
The school become the centre of attention and a source of embarrassment for the government last week after a teacher posted photos and videos on social media of thatched grass huts and shacks that are used as classrooms.
Omatope, which has an enrolment of over 200 pupils and nine teachers, only has one block of classrooms, which accommodates pupils from pre-primary to Grade 4.
Grades 5 to 9 pupils are taught in the three huts and a zinc shack that were built with contributions from parents and community members.
Some of the structures are said to be in an appalling condition after they were destroyed by livestock that roam the area.
SPYL regional secretary Josef Katukula said in a statement that the youth league in Oshikoto has already engaged the ministry of education which agreed to have additional classrooms constructed at the school early next year.
Katukula said the SPYL was not happy with the publicity stunt by the teacher, who instead of alerting the relevant authorities of the deplorable conditions at the school, decided to score some cheap political points.
“Instead of addressing these issues with the relevant government ministries and agencies, they [the teacher] opted to use social media and call themselves activists. We strongly reject all social media propaganda by the so-called activist,” Katukula said.
“We call on all peace-loving Namibians to start addressing issues to the relevant authorities as social media will never build a classroom and the opposition leader will never build a classroom,” he added.
SPYL Secretary for Education Hofni Ipinge confirmed the agreement between the ruling party’s youth wing and the cement maker.
Ipinge, who was instrumental in securing the deal from Cheetah Cement, said the ruling SWAPO Party business arm, Kalahari Holdings, has also donated N$300,000 to be used to buy chairs and tables for needy schools.
“The money has been released already and we are now busy requesting invoices from the identified schools in need,” he said.
The Windhoek Observer understands that the donation from Kalahari Holdings will become an annual contribution to schools.
Ipinge further said the SPYL wants also to buy chairs and tables and construct classrooms at Tobias Hainyeko Combined School in the Zambezi region.
The school has 1731 learners from Grade 1 to 10 who are all attending their classes under tents as there are no structures yet.
Whale Rock Cement, a joint venture between Chinese and Namibian partners, started production at its Otjiwarongo based US$350 million plant in April last year.
At full capacity, it will produce 1.2 million tonnes per annum bringing the country’s cement production capacity to 2.2 million tonnes per annum.