ICT promises national network

The Schlip community attending a lively meeting last week to confront councillors and government officials with the lack of basic amenities in the settlement.

The Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Hon Tjekero Tweya said he is aware of the weaknesses in the network coverage and promised that within the next 14 to 18 months, the entire country will have access to network connectivity through various technologies.

According to Hon Tweya, all Namibians will have network coverage for radio, internet and cellphone. “This is a commitment that the President has determined. We understand your plight. Imagine if all the network in the country dies, no Good Morning Namibia show, no 20:00 News, no radio transmission, nothing. People will start panicking and wonder what is going on. Therefore, network coverage is a must and it will happen very fast,” said the minister.
Addressing the community of Schlip in the Hardap region during a familiarization visit, Tweya said that his ministry is determined to provide access to information which must be free to all. He noted that his ministry has regional offices in all fourteen regions which can assist the community by providing information that they otherwise would not have access to through radio or television.
Responding to an enquiry about people sending short text messages to the newspapers complaining about government services, the minister said that people are allowed to express their opinions except when they are offensive and try to promote tribalism. “Such people do this because of lack of information that is not provided to them. Our ministry has a division called Media Liaison and Monitoring Services which monitors all these complaints and New Era has provided us with space in the newspaper to publish responses from the various ministries and stakeholders to address the issues of the nation,” he said.
Other queries raised by the community of Schlip include the lack of street lights in some parts of the settlement, which the community members said posed various threats and dangers especially to the vulnerable. Responding to this, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon. Obeth Kandjoze said the rural electrification programme is currently running in all the regions, however the resources allocated for this project have shrunk while the demand for electricity has increased.
Residents also complained about not receiving social grants because of lack of identification. The Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Hon. Bishop Zephania Kameeta thus urged the councillors to provide his office with the names of all the residents of Schlip who need to apply for social grants and are still waiting for their identification documents. He said his ministry has pleaded with the Ministry of Home Affairs to speed up the provision of identity documents. He encouraged residents who have recently turned 60 to apply for pension grants as this money could help them in their daily needs. The minister also said his ministry will soon set up food banks to help poverty eradication.
“The food banks that will be set up are not only for food but will also provide teaching material for the needy. We will be helping people in such a way that they can help themselves,” said the minister, adding that the first food bank will start in Windhoek and a company responsible has already been identified.
Other infrastructure that will benefit the community of Schlip is the upgrading of the Schlip clinic and housing facilities which is a project under the Ministry of Health and Social Services.