Khorixas threatens to protest over bad roads

DISGRUNTLED … The residents at Khorixas say they are unhappy with the state of the town’s roads and have threatened to dem-onstrate.

Residents of Khorixas have threatened to protest if the worn-out roads in the constituency are not regravelled, a situation they say they have lived with for over ten years.

In March, a petition with over 50 signatures, in which the community asked officials to come up with plans to fix the roads, was emailed to the Roads Authority (RA), the Ministry of Works and Transport and the governor of the Kunene region.

Leonard !Hoaeb, the group representative, says the road from Khorixas to Bergsig is in a total state of decay.

“It has become life threatening and causes motorists an enormous amount of money to replace tyres and rims damaged by potholes or sinkholes. Numerous calls to the regional office to fix or gravel this road are not getting attention,” !Hoaeb says.

According to !Hoaeb, road users in the area can no longer accept the fact that they are placed in a situation whereby their lives and those of their children are put at risk while driving on bad roads.

“We believe that this road, according to your maintenance plan, is not a priority,” he says.

Khorixas constituency councillor Sebastian !Gobs says his office is aware of the situation and has tried to intervene, but has not yet reached any solutions.

!Gobs says this has been a prevailing issue, adding that he wrote a letter to RA in 2021 requesting the regravelling of the roads in the Khorixas vicinity, specifically the road between the Sorris Sorris conservancy and Betanie T-junction, but there has been no intervention.

“The mere solution was to put a low seal on a portion of 20 kilometres,” he says.

!Gobs says he has spoken about the situation during the tabling of the budget and he is hoping the issue will be attended to, adding that he has asked the transport ministry to intervene.

!Gobs further says the area has a lot of tourist attractions which is important for the economy, hence the need for high quality roads.

He says the constituency has a total population of 15 506, of which 9371 live at Khorixas, who are subjected to using the bad roads.
Meanwhile, !Hoaeb says road users, even tourists, are often seen driving on the pavements, risking getting into accidents, due to the state of the roads.

He says all the complaints they have put forth have been met with either empty promises or hostility.

“We cannot sit by and wait for one of our own to be seriously or fatally injured in an accident before something is done,” he says, adding that they have the right to decent and safe roads similar to other parts of the country.

He says should there be no feedback, the signatories of the petition and different associations shall resort to mass action.

“We have learned that a certain company was given a tender to gravel the road last year, but nothing happened,” !Hoaeb says.

When asked to comment, RA chief executive Conrad Lutombi said his office had not received the petition, but indicated that RA has an office at Khorixas responsible for the roads.

Lutombi said they are aware of the conditions of the roads, especially between Khorixas and Bergsig, adding that last year they upgraded 20 kilometres of road.

“We are still in the process of upgrading 47km, despite the fact that we are challenged by the budget,” he said.

Lutombi said the Henties Bay-Uis-Khorixas-Kamanjab road is currently under construction. Efforts to reach Kunene governor Marius Sheya’s office were unsuccessful as his number kept going to voicemail.

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