|Oshikango-Ondangwa line opens opportunities|
|Written by William J. Mbangula|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 22:02|
President Hifikepunye Pohamba has lauded the completion of the 60km long and N$608 million worth Ondangwa-Oshikango railway line and the inauguration of the Rev. Theofilus Hamutumbangela Station as a new opportunity for trade and commerce in Namibia and other SADC countries.Speaking at the inauguration of the facilities at Oshikango recently, the Head of State told his audience, which included the Founding President Dr. Sam Nujoma, that the completion of the facilities is a great achievement by Namibia, thus enabling the country to have a railway network covering the entire North-South stretch from Ariamsvlei to Oshikango.
In the broader national and regional context, he noted that the completion of the project has opened new opportunities in the SADC region. More specifically the railway line creates a direct transport link to South Africa through the southern border and to Angola via the northern border.
“The momentum created by the completion of the railway line from Tsumeb to Oshikango, with the inauguration of the Rev. Hamutumbangela station, are steps in the right direction. This should inspire greater dedication for our government in order to achieve success in the areas of public service delivery, as well as economic development,” the President emphasised.
According to the information released at the event, the completion of the railway between Tsumeb and Ondangwa (246km), being phase 1, Ondangwa to Oshikango (60km), phase 2, and the envisaged 30km, Oshakati-Ondangwa, as phase 3, will form an extension of the existing Namibian railway system, which will ensure smooth trade and commerce within SADC countries. It will mainly provide the vital link in the ‘Namibe-Lubango–Oshikango–Walvis Bay Transport Corridor’ which is aimed at promoting development, economic growth, eradication of poverty and the creation of employment possibilities in Angola and Namibia.
Following extensive consultation between the governments of Angola and Namibia, the extension of the 306km railway line between Tsumeb and Oshikango was agreed way back in 1997. The 60km railway line project which commenced in 2006 and officially completed in January 2012 had employed 2 600 people with 5 200 volunteers completing 1 500 tasks.
The recently inaugurated train station was named after the late Rev. Hamutumbangela, a former Anglican Church man who is known as one of the first petitioners of the United Nations against the then South African occupation of Namibia.
The well-attended event was attended by, among others, the Angolan Minister of Transport, Augusto da Silva Tomas, his Namibian counterpart, Errki Nghimtina, many in the leadership of the NCCI, church and traditional leaders, as well as regional and local councilors.