The Rundu Town Council is seeking municipal status from the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development. The quest for municipal status is because Rundu is now the second largest town in the country, after Windhoek, a position that once belonged to Walvis Bay, which is a municipality.
According to the 2011 Population Census Rundu is home to 63 431 people but Rundu Town Council CEO Romanus Haironga put the current population at way above 136 823 inhabitants, a figure quoted in 2013. It is estimated that the town will be home to 316 137 people by 2040.
“We have two plans that we are busy with. One is to request for the expansion of the town boundary due to the shortage of land for future developments, and the second is to request for municipal status,” said Haironga.
He did not specify what type of municipal status Rundu is seeking. Currently Namibia has two kinds of municipal status, i.e. Part I which applies to Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, and Part II municipalities such as Gobabis, Okahandja and Tsumeb.
The growth of the town according to Haironga is a “result of good infrastructure development – we have attracted a lot of people to our town.”
According to the Local Authority Act, a town can be granted municipal status by the Minister of Urban and Rural Development if such town is able to, among others, fund its operations without subsidy from the government.
Haironga nevertheless says the town council is already hard at work to boost infrastructure in anticipation of an even further growth in population.
“As a council we have put in motion ideas to develop different master plans. We already finalised the development of our 20-year structural plan, and we have also done with the roads master plan, storm water master plan, sewer and water master plan, as well as electricity master plan. These master plans will guide and inform us about the demand for services by residents in the current and in future,” he says.
The council has also availed land to the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) during the first phase of the mass housing programme, through which 318 erven were demarcated. A total number of 64 houses been constructed and completed, while 28 social houses have been given to the council for allocation. The Rundu Town Council has so far allocated 10 houses to qualified beneficiaries.
“We are still receiving applications through the Build Together Housing Programme for future allocations. We have already identified land for the mass land servicing programme, and we trust that we will be included for the next financial year as one of the beneficiaries with regard to budget provision by central government so that we can achieve our goals as per the Harambee Prosperity Plan,” said Haironga.
The council has also just completed the construction of the new fire station valued at N$6,5 million. Two main roads are being constructed in town. One is Maria Mwengere Road, which is being surfaced with bitumen at a cost of N$12 million, while the other is Eugen Kakukuru Road, which is being upgraded and widened at a cost of N$3,9 million.
“In the next financial year we are planning to do maintenance of roads at an estimated cost of N$4,1 million, and construct a storm water channel between Omashare and the police station at an estimated amount of N$6 million,” said Haironga. He also wants the council to benefit from the mass land servicing programme, just as Windhoek, Oshakati and Walvis Bay have benefited. “We expect and trust that we will be included in the next financial year,” he says.
To guide the growth of the town the council has aligned its strategic imperatives with the Namibian National Vision 2030 “to be a prosperous and industrialised nation, developed by her human resources, enjoying peace, harmony and political stability.”
Rundu has also defined its vision as, “A city of diverse opportunities and a centre of socio-economic excellence.”
“We have crafted and developed our five-year strategic plan 2014/15 – 2018/19, wherein we identified the core strategic imperatives that enable us to achieve our high level statements on our journey to contribute towards the achievement and attainment of the three overarching NDP4 goals of high and sustained economic growth, employment creation and increased income equality,” Haironga says.
“We are now implementing our strategic business plan based on the balanced scorecard looking at our four perspectives: the learning and growth perspective, internal business process perspective, customer/stakeholder perspective and financial perspective,” he says.
Following the launch of the Harambee Prosperity Plan 2016/17 – 2019/20 by President Hage Geingob in April this year, the Rundu Town Council developed a “Harmonised Rundu Town Council Harambee Prosperity Plan”, in which they re-aligned their five-year strategic plan to fit into the national Harambee Prosperity Plan.
“This is what is helping us to boost infrastructure development and attract investors into our town,” he says.