Monday, October 25, 2010

Namibia: Govt Imports Cuban Town Planners

Namibia: Govt Imports Cuban Town Planners
Tileni Mongudhi
22 October 2010

LOCAL Government Minister Jerry Ekandjo will abolish the Namibian
Council for Town and Regional Planners within the next six months.

Ekandjo said on Wednesday that the professional body was discriminating
against black people, as only people who studied at South African
universities got admitted.

He said he was not going to approve another term for a new council and
would give them six months to wind up.

He said the ministry would set up a department of technical services and
would employ its own town and regional planners.

Ekandjo said the Government has already signed an agreement with the
Cuban government for Namibia to import 13 town planners and 13 civil
engineers who will be attached to all of Namibia's 13 regional councils.

Ekandjo added that dependence on local planners and engineers has caused
delays in service delivery, especially with delivering serviced erven in
towns. He said local professionals sometimes took two years with
projects that could be concluded in six months.

With the Cuban professionals on the way, Government has already entered
into another round of negotiations with the Cuban government to pave the
way for an additional 54 civil engineers and 54 town planners, one for
every local authority in the country, to come to Namibia.

According to Ekandjo, this will speed up the process of making town
erven available at a reduced price.

He said Government is now going to be servicing undeveloped land for the
local authorities so that local authorities do not pass the price of
servicing the land on to the people.

Some town planners say the move is short-sighted and ill informed. The
president of the Namibia Institute of Regional and Town Planners,
Jacques Korrubel, who is also a member of the council, said he could not
comment on the issue because Government had not yet officially
communicated its intentions to the council.

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