The signing took place on 22 September 2022 at the Katima Mulilo Town Council (KMTC). The event brought together UNAM, Katima Mulilo Campus Management, Katima Mulilo town councilors, and Management, as well as the media.
At the occasion, Mr. Francis Mombela, Manager Technical Services at KMTC, informed the gathering on the state of sewerage in Katima Mulilo, a system that used orange-burg pipes inherited from the old dispensation, has reached its maturity, making the town, especially townships such as Ngweze, Old NHE and BOMA to experience blockages from tree roots, dumping of blankets and ruble in sewerage main halls by residents of the town. Theft of protective main hall iron bars is another contributing factor. He further explained that “At the time, the midblock sewer network was preferred, however, it is now causing a problem with the backflow. The planting of trees by property owners is also affecting the timelines and accessibility issues in terms of maintenance.” The old orange-burg pipes, which – were fit for purpose then, in the early 1930s, after the town was relocated from Luhono (then Schuckmansburg) to Katima Mulilo Town – served a small population of about 800 residents. The said pipes can no longer withstand the current exponential population of 60 000 inhabitants, which is relentlessly causing sewerage pipe breaks despite regular maintenance work.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Mr. R. Liswaniso, lamented that the residents of KMTC are failing the town due to the dumping of blankets, cattle hides, rubble, and other non-dissolvable materials in the main halls, contributing to system flow problems. The mid-block system; relatively flat terrain necessitating lifting of the stations; capacity of staff members; above average rainfall; high surface runoff; and no stormwater drainage systems, are some of the challenges that the town faces.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Namibia, Prof Kenneth Matengu reiterated the sewerage problems that the town is facing. He stated during the signing of the MOU, that, the parties wish to establish communication channels that will facilitate cooperation and collaboration between UNAM and KMTC. He further indicated that “advisory services, collaboration, and corporation in research and education, water sanitation and electricity, capacity building are amongst some of the areas of collaboration“. The memorandum of understanding shall be valid for a period of five (5) years and will be renewable, if need be, for the benefit of the town of Katima Mulilo.