Okahandja in quest for tier one status
Her Worship, Valery Aron and her town council are currently banking on the growth of the garden town due to the vast developments taking place and are hoping to capitalize on the opportunity in the process, achieve tier one status.
Should her audacious plans fall through, Okahandja will soon join the ranks of Swakopmund, Windhoek, and Walvis Bay, changing the way in which the once sleepy town is seen.
The garden town has awaken to the opportunities the SABMiller owned brewing plant and military college is having and has seen a vast entrance of notable retailers such as ShopRite, Edgars Active, Mr. Price and entry of Nedbank Namibia into the town.
In an interview with the Economist, Aron sounded optimistic about the immediate future of Okahandja, alluding to the construction of the brewing plant and military college.
She said, “It [SabMiller] will assist the municipality of Okahandja to address the unemployment situation in our town, and also the military college, its not only the country per se, its going to cater for all Southern African Development Community countries.
For us, that is an achievement that will really need to be acknowledged.”
She added that Okahandja was strategically located, helping it maximise its growth potential.
Aron was of the opinion that because Okahandja was linked to all the major transport nodes in the country, it made it a favourable business destination.
Aron said that the town council was going to emulate other municipalities in generating various revenue streams and was assessing various options.
Said Aron, “Though we are not a profit making organisation, the same law requires the municipality to sustain itself, so that is the only way the municipality can be able to sustain itself through revenue collection,” adding that the municipality of Okahandja was looking at various options to strengthen its revenue collection mechanism.”
She said, “ We are also competing with other towns that are doing well so far and that is a learning process.
We need to learn from our colleagues elsewhere so that we can also be able to be on level one for example.”
A notable challenge for Aron and her municipality was the vast influx of people from other towns. She said, “The influx of people, nobody really finds yourself in a situation whereby you are prepared. It comes as a surprise and you will just need to align your plans and your strategy accordingly.
The influx of the people is one of the major challenges. It has put pressure on the existing infrastructure and the municipality has to align itself with that. Not having enough resources to really address those challenges.”
According to Aron, the town council is readying itself to face the challenges head on and mentioned that plans were constantly being re-evaluated.
She added that the infrastructure network was going to be modernised to accommodate the swarm of people currently flocking into the town.