GOVERNMENT intends to electrify about 400 schools in rural areas before April 2020, minister of mines and energy Obeth Kandjoze says. This year, between 35 and 38 rural schools will be electrified countrywide, he revealed during a visit to the Okoutjove village in the Omaheke region’s Otjombinde constituency on Thursday. Speaking during a community meeting, the minister said government has made more than N$60 million available for the rural electrification initiative for all 14 regions. “Education is our mandate, hence the need to identify schools with dire electricity needs. It is our mandate to ensure that schools have electricity,” said Kandjoze. The minister asked councillors to provide him with the names of schools in need of hostel facilities and fences, amongst others, saying his ministry will seek assistance from mining companies in this regard as part of their social development responsibilities. “Hundreds of millions of dollars go into our communities, but it should not only benefit the places that are in the mining region; it should go as far as Katima Mulilo, Okongo and Omaheke,” he stated. Kandjoze singled out the Erongo region as one of the biggest beneficiaries of the mining sector in as far as community development is concerned. He added that the mining and energy sectors should benefit all Namibians, regardless of ethnicity or geographic location. “You must know your rights. It is your constitutional right to approach the Ministry [of Mines and Energy and apply for mining exploration licences, or even seek to speak to me. You must come because you have elected us, and it is your right,” he told his audience. Kandjoze is on a two−week familiarisation trip to the Omaheke region, where he intends to visit most of the seven constituencies. The trip started on 11 May, and is expected to end on 27 May.