WITKRANS, 22 APR – The Mariental Rural Constituency in Hardap on Saturday held a belated 28th Independence Day celebration in an event attended by close to 400 people.
The event was also attended by, amongst others, Gibeon Constituency Councillor Jeremias van Neel and Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhardt Esau, who delivered the keynote address.
Esau said Namibia has witnessed rapid progress since independence with the infrastructure of apartheid regime dismantled and with more Namibians being encouraged to demand and expect more from their government.
“We have made tangible gains in infrastructure provision, social protection, economic advancement and effective governance,” he said.
He said since President Hage Geingob assumed office he has, after speaking to Namibians in town hall meetings, rolled out the Harambee Prosperity Plan as an implementation tool of the 2014 Swapo Party Manifesto.
“We would have loved to sustain a higher rate of progress and implementation, but we had to contend with independent intervening variables beyond our control. The past four years have been tough, with headwinds brought about by a global economic downturn characterised by falling commodity prices and fluctuating exchange rates,” he said.
Esau said the “perfect storm” as some have themed it has had a direct impact on the country’s economy and revenue base.
“The government has, as a result implemented the biggest expenditure cut since independence. We are aware that some of the necessary interventions have hurt small businesses and led to job losses, that is why the government is encouraging small and medium business enterprises to diversify their business portfolio,” the minister said.
Esau said it will not be easy, but everyone must bear in mind that there are no shortcuts to progress and prosperity, adding that change will only come through the commitment of each and every Namibian.
Esau said the citizens should in this year of reckoning guard against racism and tribalism and “silo mentalities” against government organisations and agencies and the overall lack of cooperation and coordination between officials.
“The Namibia we fought for belongs to all of us and we will not allow retrogressive mentalities to return to our land. We will not allow those who propagate the divisive Bantustan mentality of the past to gain a foothold in our community,” he said.