Millions for Windhoek’s informal settlements

15 August 2019 | Infrastructure

The money will never be enough. - Laura McLeod-Katjirua, Governor: Khomas

The ministry of urban and rural development has set aside N$50 million to improve the living conditions of Windhoek’s informal settlements residents for the 10 months to March next year.

This decision was taken at a meeting between the City of Windhoek (CoW), the ministry and Khomas regional council in May, according to information presented at the municipality’s monthly council meeting.

“Faced with time constraint and a health emergency, about 72% of the budget will be spent on curbing the onslaught of Hepatitis E,” reads council documents.

The project’s primary objective is to improve access to land and basic services such as potable water, toilets, roads, electricity and ultimately the security of tenure during that period.

To achieve this, about 2% of the budget will be spent on strategic spatial planning for Farm 508 to give a spatial vision for the township establishment process that will follow.

An amount of N$3.5 million has been earmarked for road level design, while for the construction of water and sewer lines, N$4.1 million has been set aside for the Havana, Goreangab, Okuruyangava and Otjomuise settlements.

About N$4.3 million or 8.6% of the budget will be allocated to the planning and registration of eight townships, including redesigns, where CoW has contractual obligations.

“The money will never be enough. That [N$50 million] is just money allocated for a specific financial year. It is not a once-off amount,” Khomas regional governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua told Nampa in an interview yesterday.

Urbanisation

The latest statistics by the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia indicate that there are 308 informal settlements in Namibia with 228 000 shacks which house around 995 000 people in urban areas.

“Urbanisation is not going to stop. Windhoek is the only capital city we have. The problem is that when people settle in these places, they don’t report to any authority. They just settle and demand services. This gives a lot of pressure on the government and the authorities' fiscus,” McLeod-Katjirua said.

Lasting solutions to the mushrooming informal settlements include their formalisation as well as the construction of low-cost houses though public-private partnerships, she said.

“But what is a low-cost house and to whom is it a low-cost house? If somebody runs a cuca shop, what is a low-cost house for that person?” the governor asked. – Nampa

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