Swakopmund Braces for Mass Housing

The coastal town of Swakopmund is preparing itself for the mass housing development programme expected to kick off in the town’s Democratic Resettlement community (DRC) informal settlement on its outskirts.

The tourist town expects to construct not less than 3 024 houses in the informal settlement, whose residents eagerly await the construction of long-awaited homes and proper municipal services. The town has also indicated that it is ready to make land available for the construction of at least 3000 houses. DRC is a sprawling informal settlement of matchbox shacks, built with corrugated iron sheets and other materials, which thousands of poor people in Swakopmund and from elsewhere in the country have made their home and its populations is now estimated to be around 20 000.

DRC residents have been fighting tooth and nail for almost 10 years now for the formalization of the settlement to the extent that they even vowed not to take part in the upcoming national general elections if their demands for decent housing and other amenities are not met. The ambitious N$45 billion mass housing development programme of the government, through which it intends to build 185 000 houses by 2030 to mitigate the current nationwide 100 000-units housing deficit was launched last year by President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) is mandated to build low-cost houses for low-income earners and even for middle-income earners under the programme. Over 11 000 housing units must be build every year if the government is to meet its objective of building 185 000 houses by 2030.

During a press conference held last week Wednesday in Swakopmund the mayor of the town Juuso Kambueshe said the council places high priority on the formalization of DRC and that that has been in the pipeline for years now. “The formalization of the DRC will not escape its own achievement of success. We have been truthful and transparent with the electorate regarding the formalization process of the DRC. The installation of bulk services have been on schedule as planned. Thus we can assure residents that we are on par,” Kambueshe explained. Council last year already awarded a N$26.5 million contract to a contractor for the installation of all the main water and sewerage systems at the impoverished settlement. The mayor went on to say that council is aware of agents that are deliberately trying to mislead the community with the aim to derail progress at the town.

“We are aware that their motives are also political, however we urge the community in Swakopmund to have faith in the council. Let us not be detracted by social obstacles. We are also urging the community to be ready for development, as it will be coming fast and hard in Swakopmund,” Kambueshe said. During the meeting it was also revealed that recreational areas and public open spaces have been reserved for development by the council and will no longer be sold to private developers.

Source : New Era