Mining ministry visits Omaheke communities to match donor support with local needs
Encouraging the mining sector to spend their Corporate Social Investment in regions where the need is most acute instead of focussing only on their own immediate areas, has already produced tangible results with the opening in July of the Olukupa clinic near Okongo.
In an attempt to flesh out this policy, last week the Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon Kornelia Shilungu toured the Gobabis district visiting communities and villages between the town and the Botswana border for a hands-on inspection of conditions in some communities where support is urgently needed.
Amongst others, she visited the Vergenoeg Primary School for an inspection of its hostel where the facilities are inadequate to accommodate the 157 boys and 164 girls who currently live in two dormitories, each designed and equipped for only 100 learners.
Vergenoeg’s residents are mostly San. The village is just over 100 kilometres from Gobabis.
Come meal time, all the Vergenoeg children eat under a corrugated roof with open sides as the existing dining room has seating capacity for only 40 children.
Vergenoeg’s principal, Mr Josia Taukeheke showed the minister that they have to store perishable items for their 321 children in a single domestic chest freezer as the kitchen does not have a walk-in refrigerator.
Despite these aggravating conditions, the minister was nevertheless impressed by the tidy and clean dormitories. She also noted that the hostel’s four supervisors, while living in quarters constructed from corrugated metal, maintained a clean lifestyle.
The hostel receives a subsidy from the government which is used to maintain the infrastructure, most of which is made from corrugated metal sheets such as the storage rooms, supervisors’ quarters, parts of the ablution facilities and laundry rooms. The ablution structures are outside the dormitories.
The hostel also uses the subsidy to buy fuel to pump water from a borehole and pay the salaries of the supervisors.
The minister will take her impressions of rural communities in Omaheke to her constituency, the mining sector, to convince more mining companies to invest part of their Corporate Social Responsibility in the Omaheke region despite not having any significant mining activity.