The situation in Stampriet is heartbreaking: Resident

WINDHOEK: A woman of Stampriet in the Hardap Region shed tears in the National Council Chambers here on Wednesday because of challenges faced by her community.

Addressing more than 40 women and men during proceedings of the Second Rural Women Parliament with Male Partners underway here, Johanna Meyer said Stampriet village councillors are just enriching themselves at the expense of the people who elected them into those positions.

“This is heartbreaking, and this is why I am shedding tears as it is taking me back to the years of colonialism, when access to some services were denied,” she said.

Speaking in Afrikaans, Meyer explained that community members have written several letters to their councillors requesting assistance with certain issues, but nothing came of it, making it look as if the councillors just do not care.

Stampriet is located 64 kilometres north-east of Mariental, and has about 4 750 inhabitants.

She pointed out that they have close to 13 shebeens in between people’s homes.

“The situation has become unbearable. Our small population has fallen prey to alcoholism, particularly affecting school-going children,” said Meyer, adding that some of the shebeens have become major drug hubs.

Sadly, crimes such as rape and suicides are increasing, she said.

“Our community has quite a large number of people living with disabilities, and Government alone cannot attend to them.

This topic is very close to my heart, and as a retired nurse I am now running a project for young children living disabilities,” said Meyer.

She indicated that as much as she wants to do more for the children, she is faced with challenges such as limited facilities for them such as wheelchairs, and not being able to secure land to expand the project.

“These are all issues that make one’s heart heavy,” said an emotional Meyer.

Meanwhile, Swakopmund Constituency Councillor, Germina Shitaleni told Nampa on the sidelines of the session that she is happy that participants can express themselves in their mother tongues, hailing it as a big achievement.

“Normally people are discouraged because they do not know how to speak the official language, English, but now they are conversing in their own mother tongues and bring to the fore what is happening at grassroots level,” she said.

The four-day Second Rural Women Parliament with Male Partners officially started on Tuesday.

It is aimed at giving women and men an opportunity to discuss issues and make a difference in society, with the main focus on rural areas.