Urban Ministry surrenders maintenance functions to regional councils

Martin Endjala

The Minister of Urban and Rural Development last week decentralised maintenance functions from the Ministry of Works and Transport to the two Kavango Regional Councils.

The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Works and Transport, as per the amendment of Government Notice No. 84 of May 15, 2009, which provides for the decentralisation of the maintenance functions, has given over the responsibility to the Kavango East Regional Council.

The Government Gazette Notice No. 364 of December 2022 now provides for the decentralisation by delegating the said function to the Kavango East and Kavango West Regional Councils separately.

Speaking at the handover in Rundu last Wednesday, the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni said he took note of the concern about the government buildings in various regions, which are not regularly maintained and are in very bad physical and functional states.

“I am urging the Regional Council to ensure that, with the resources availed to you, the government facilities and infrastructure that are entrusted in your care receive timely attention,” said Uutoni.

He emphasised that the regional councils should embrace these functions and accompanying resources, as well as staff members, with enthusiasm, professionalism, and above all, a sense of absolute dedication and accountability.

The Kavango West Regional Council on Thursday, also witnessed the Works and Transport Minister John Mutorwa anding over the ministry’s maintenance functions. As such, work done by the regional maintenance department will now fall under the council.

During the handover, Mutorwa urged the regional council to utilise resources given to it by the central government for its intended tasks, while also emphasizing that resources should not be used for other purposes as this will create a window for more problems, adding that dividing funds availed to the council due to other pressing needs, will only make things worse. “Other alternative routes must be undertaken in case of pressing needs, to avoid shortcomings,” Mutorwa said.

Mutorwa urged officials to familiarise themselves with the provisions of the Decentralisation Act and the terms of the Decentralisation Agreement signed.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Works and Transport will remain the custodian of the maintenance of schools, health facilities, and other government buildings, albeit with functions delegated to the region.

The government garage is next in line to be decentralised to the regions, the minister added.

He called on those entrusted with this responsibility to ensure accountability and transparency at all times and to account for every penny spent, by making sure that the facilities of the region, such as roads, buildings and the like, are well-taken care of, avoid scenarios as observed in the past where facilities were left to deteriorate.

The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development is mandated to coordinate the government’s decentralisation drive through the Decentralisation Enabling Act of 2000.

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