Rehoboth Baster Community
CEO Upbeat About Rehoboth Development
Published by May 14, 2008
The newly appointed CEO of the Rehoboth Town Council is optimistic about the developmental potential of the town, considered to be the gateway to the South, despite the current multiple socio-economic problems.
Former school principal, Theo Jankowski, was appointed CEO some 10 months ago after a teaching career spanning 32 years.
“During my teaching career, I did part-time studies in public policy and administration and completed an MA degree in 2002 empowering me with theoretical knowledge. When this vacancy occurred, I applied successfully for the job. Naturally, it was a big jump from teaching to administering a town,” Jankowski, who was born and bred in Rehoboth, said in a wide-ranging interview with New Era.
The new CEO feels much more needs to be done to attract investment to the southern town.
“We need to focus and improve the existing investment policy of the town council if we are to achieve economic success. At present, this policy is not satisfactory. During the last 10 months, there had not been big investment projects. However, we are planning to hold an investment conference in the near future to look at all national and international possibilities,” he said about the town that offers a lot of cheap labour, cheap land and water, elements that in his opinion have the potential to draw investment.
“We will definitely have to design and implement more investor-friendly policies in a rigorous way and manner to draw such investment because the town is really in need of big investment projects for economic development.
There are plans to open a glass factory, a diamond-cutting factory and to reopen the two existing closed copper mines in the area. Now that the copper price has risen, this can give much-needed economic development impetus to the town,” he said of investment, currently limited to brochures.
According to Jankowski, the German government is actively involved in socio-economic development efforts at the town such as opening a museum, a school of arts, government schools and orphanages.
“The unemployment situation in the town remains critical. Traditionally, a large percentage of the inhabitants commute to Windhoek because the town basically offers no work. We have certain work projects through the ministry of local government such as sewerage projects that will in the near future provide job opportunities for the growing 35 000 odd population, many of whom come from all over to find work in the town, especially squatters,” he said.
In his view, the crime rate in the town is skyrocketing to the detriment of all the inhabitants.
“Alcohol and to a lesser extent, drug abuse such as mandrax are the biggest social problems due to the fact that alcohol is so readily available to young people. We have many legal as well as illegal shebeens in the town, a national problem, which we regularly keep our eyes on in an effort to control it. We have held discussions about this problem with shebeen owners, the police, narcotic bureau officials, the governors and NGOs as well as churches to help curb the social evil of drinking. We now work very closely to achieve greater success,” he said.
With regard to the escalating high Aids rate in Rehoboth he said: “A few years ago, people accepted there was no Aids, but gradually they have realised that the disease is present in the community and poses a great threat to life and development. Research has shown that the town has an Aids rate of 25 percent, one of the highest in the country.”
Considered to be a new social tendency, suicide among the town’s youth is also increasing.
“This suicide tendency among the youth in the town is new and is increasing due to the fact that these young people do not see a future for themselves because of unemployment one of the main reasons for committing suicide.
We are working to try to curb the problem as best we can,” he said.
In conclusion, Jankowski said he was confident about the future of the town and with hard work the town can secure investors from anywhere and everywhere.