17 May 2021 | Opinion
A 2017 study warned that at the current rate of informal settlement expansion, there will be more shacks than brick houses in Namibia by 2025.
The situation was described by President Hage Geingob as a humanitarian crisis.
Yet, Namibia’s informal settlements continue to expand with hundreds of thousands living in corrugated metal structures exposed to disease, fires and extreme weather conditions.
Winter has come again, and once again informal settlement residents can add the heightened risk of injury or death by fire or gas explosions to their already long list of daily worries.
While the cooler weather is a respite for many from the relentless heat, informal settlement residents now have to find ways to survive the freezing nights.
Each year, government promises to speed up land and housing delivery. Each year, humanitarian and non-profit groups work hard alongside shack dwellers to improve the conditions of their lives. Yet each year, whether summer or winter, the problem of mushrooming informal settlements, and the intolerable array of daily crises their residents battle with, remain mostly unresolved.
Whether there is a solution to this problem can be debated, but on whether government is doing enough to find the solution, it seems the answer remains a resounding no - no matter the season.