Walvis plans to relocate 65 000 residents

Walvis Bay-Some 65 000 residents of Walvis Bay, including backyard squatters and those living in shacks, have agreed to a plan by the Walvis Bay Town Council to relocate them to Farm 37, about five kilometres outside the town.

The move comes as council pushes to resubmit its application for the piece of land, after the Namibia Planning Advisory Board (Nampab) rejected the submission in November last year.

Council wants to relocate 65 000 residents, who currently rent accommodation, as well as low-income earners such as kapana sellers and taxi driver to Farm 37, a piece of land measuring 2800 square metres.

The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) waiting list indicates that 35 000 people have registered for land, however not all landless people have registered.

If approved, the council will develop Farm 37 in phases, which it expects to yield more than 3000 residential plots during the first phase.

Council revealed last week that Nampab had rejected its initial application for Farm 37 because they failed to consult the affected people.

Walvis Bay mayor, Wilfred Immanuel told residents at a recent meeting that the town currently had 13 000 shacks, which are home to about 65 000 residents.

The town identified Farm 37 as the answer to accommodate all these landless people so that they could all have a place to call home.

"We are going to resubmit our application again on 23 February. We are desperate for that piece of land and fighting for you to get that land so that you can start paying for your own piece of land instead of paying thousands of dollars for shacks.

"Therefore, we must join our hands together so that the ministry approves our application," Immanuel told the gathering.

The mayor further said, the last township proclaimed in Walvis Bay was Narraville, which was proclaimed in 1962.

"So it is over 50 years and our residents have increased to such an extent that we have no choice but to extend. That is why we took a resolution to establish a new township for the ultra-low income earners and backyard squatters," he explained.

Ndishoshili Nghilumbwa who also sits on the Nampab board further explained to residents that the municipality went out of its way to convince the board about the plight of the landless residents.

"We have brought the board to Walvis Bay to see how our people live and to help us understand why council so badly wants to develop farm 37 for its people. That is why we are also consulting with you for your input," he added.

Residents in attendance said they were willing to move, but told council that they wanted to know how the relocation process would work and what criteria it would use to relocate people.

"We just don't want to be dumped on Farm 37. We want a place we can afford, and can be proud of," one of the residents said during the meeting.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia