Working and Transporting @ 22

The Ministry of Works and Transport has, for 22 years, been a custodian to billions of dollars worth of Government property. It supervises the functioning of the State-owned Enterprises (SoEs). Air Namibia, Namibia Ports Authority, TransNamib Holdings Ltd, Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA), Namibia Airports Company, Roads Authority and Roads Contractor Company.

Refurbishment of airports

The upgrading of various components of the airports is in full swing and this includes The Walvis Bay Airport, Hosea Kutako International Airport, Eros and at Lüderitz airports. Equipments are being installed at the Area Control Centre of the Directorate Civil Aviation at Eros Airport. This provides a link to new communication equipment at 10 remote radio stations spread across the country.

This involves the provision of meteorological equipment and an aeronautical information system at Hosea Kutako International Airport, Eros, Walvis Bay and Lüderitz airports.

The ministry established a New Area Control Centre for the Windhoek Flight Information Reading (FIR). The first phase of the New Radar and Surveillance, which was launched in December last year is valued at N$255m. The project included the purchase of co-mounted primary and secondary radar, which was installed at Hosea Kutako International Airport.

As an upgrade in technology, the latest version of Euro-cat X processing and display system was installed at the Eros Area Control Centre (ACC), Hosea Kutako International Airport and Walvis Bay Airport as well at the Eros Control Tower. The Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) equipment manufactured in the Czech Republic was deployed at 36 sites throughout the country. This makes Namibia the first country in the world to implement a sole Wide Area Multilateration surveillance for nationwide coverage for such a geographically large country.

Focus on the roads and expansion of the road networks

Despite these challenges posed by heavy floods resulting to the damage of roads, during the financial year 2010/11, the ministry implemented a total number of 26 road projects of which road constructions and upgrading accounted for 25 projects. The ministry has succeeded in achieving the construction and upgrading of rural gravel roads to bitumen standards and a total of 382km have now been completed.

Gravel Roads

A total of 405km of rural gravel roads were constructed with the longest one being the 235km Epukiro-Eiseb-Gam gravel road. Furthermore, about 145.25km of rural gravel road in several regions have been implemented and commenced and are progressing well. The road rehabilitation and maintenance program amounted to a total distance of 137km completed during the 2010/11 period.

On road safety

As a show of commitment to Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 strategy, the National Road Safety Council, in collaboration with Gesundheits-Informations-Zentrum (GIZ), formerly GTZ, Namibian Police, City of Windhoek, Roads Authority, MVA Fund, Walvis Bay Corridor Group and other stakeholders, held the very first National Road Safety conference early December last year in Walvis Bay.

On its part, the ministry has submitted the plan of action, which is aimed at curbing the increasing carnage on the national roads.

The condition of the railway line and the way forward

The shortage of railway sleepers and railway lines will be a thing of the past, as the former railway sleepers are being manufactured in Tsumeb through a joint venture effort between Ministry of Works and Transport, TransNamib Holdings Ltd and GPT-InfraProjects.

For the latter, already a consignment of 13 200 tonnes of rails was delivered six months ahead of schedule for the construction of the permanent ways between Ondangwa–Oshikango and Aus to Lüderitz railway lines, respectively. This followed an agreement with VAE; a South Africa (Pty) Ltd, which is a part of the voestalpine Schienen GmbH; an Austrian company, specialising in railway line products and equipments.

The development of the TransKalahari Railway Line link is on the cards, following the signing of the MOU between the ministry and the Botswana government. A pre-feasibility study on this railway line link has already been completed.

Railway rehabilitation and upgrade work took place on the Aus-Lüderitz Railway Line, Kranzberg-Tsumeb rehabilitation and the construction of the permanent way of the Northern Railway Line Extension Phase II (Ondangwa to Oshikango) has commenced. A total of 2 794 longitudinal beam panels for the Aus to Lüderitz Railway Line rehabilitation and upgrade works have been produced at a factory in Aus. The earthworks for this section have also been completed. The construction of the permanent way for this section is planned to start in the first quarter of this year.

The construction of the station buildings at Oshikango have also been completed and handed over to TransNamib Holdings Ltd for operations and management. Damaged sections of the railway line by floods between Ariamsvlei and Karasburg have been restored and services have resumed. The ministry successfully completed the relaying of 9.6km of rail tracks between Windhoek and Okahandja, which meets Sadc standards of a carrying capacity of 18.5tonnes axle load.

The introduction of the Zambezi River water transport

The ministry has acquired and commissioned the Zambezi River Landing Craft in Katima Mulilo to ease the many challenges residents in this area face during floods.

The maintenance of Government property and slow implementation of capital projects

Considering the massive asset-base of about N$25b, which by international standards requires a maintenance bill of N$500m for every five years, the ministry does not have that money.

The handing of the maintenance function of the 13 regional councils as part of the decentralisation process under the Delegation phase, which came along with guidelines on doing so, has been one way of handling the challenge. This enables the ministry as the custodian of all Government buildings and infrastructure, to properly budget and attend to real maintenance issues.

Capital projects and the future

The ministry is widely consulting with several stakeholders to develop a better structured remuneration framework to attract skilled personnel to maximise efficiency, as well as build a pool of in-house technocrats. Training of dependency on consultants is also being looked at.

In the mean time, timeframes for implementation of capital projects have been developed and are widely being distributed and consulted upon by offices, ministries and Government agencies. So far, the ministry has managed to realise a 75% implementation rate on construction projects on the Development Budget during the period under review, which shows significant improvements. PF