Aussenkehr housing 'a crisis'

19 February 2019 | Infrastructure

Urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga has described the housing situation in Aussenkehr as a crisis that must be addressed urgently.

Mushelenga visited the grape farms situated on the banks of the Orange River at the weekend to assess the living conditions of the harvesters.

During his visit he met with grape company managers and local construction companies to discuss the housing crisis at Aussenkehr.

Despite several appeals by the government to grape farm owners to build houses for their workers, most workers still live in reed huts or shacks with poor sanitation and use buckets or the open veld as toilets. “The situation is really a crisis if you look at the structures that people are living in.

“There is an urgent need for houses.

“And I told these companies that they must know these are agricultural workers and the houses must be within their means,” Mushelenga said.

He said he was deeply disappointed at the vandalism of a still non-operational purification plant worth N$8.8 million and two demo houses.

According to him there was no explanation why the purification plant had not been guarded. No security officer was assigned to guard the demo houses that had been built at a cost of N$400 000.

About 7 000 plots have been demarcated at Aussenkehr since 2004, of which 3 000 have been connected to the sewerage system and 250 to water and electricity networks.

Karasburg West constituency councillor Paulus Ephraim agreed that the housing crisis at Aussenkehr was serious.

“We were supposed to build houses a long time ago, but there was a hold-up with an agreement. Nobody wanted to build until that agreement was signed.

“That draft agreement is now in the minister's office and the minister said he would come back to us within seven days,” he said.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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