Walvis landless are hopeful

Hundreds of Walvis Bay residents who are currently renting backyard shacks and squatting elsewhere, responded with ululation at the prospect of the development of Farm 37.

16 February 2017 | Infrastructure

News that land could be made available at Farm 37 near Walvis Bay for housing was met with applause and ululation at a meeting on Monday evening in the harbour town.

Farm 37, expected to solve the land scarcity at the harbour town, is a piece of virgin land located five kilometres south of Walvis Bay. The municipality plans to relocate more than 65 000 residents currently renting backyard shacks.

The news was announced at a well-attended community meeting.

Walvis Bay Mayor Immanuel Wilfred said council will fight to get the land and construct a township to be called 'Green Valley'.

Wilfred said their application to acquire the land was turned down by the Namibia Planning Advisory Board (Nampab) last year.

The board comprises members appointed by the Minister of Urban and Rural Development and amongst other duties, is responsible for supervising all local authorities and regional councils with regard to town planning.

Wilfred said they will meet Nampab next week and resubmit their application.

“We are fighting to get this for you, we will not give up, so please pray that we get it,” he said.

Councillor Ndishoshili Nghilumbwa, who is also a board member of Nampab, said the application was turned down because the community was not consulted on the matter.

Other reasons included the fact that the area is situated close to a dusty quarry which could pose a danger to people's health, as well as a pending environmental clearance certificate.

These issues will be discussed and if a common agreement is reached, the land might be made available.

Management committee chairperson, Tobias Nambala used the meeting as an opportunity to conduct the community consultation.

The residents responded with cheers when asked if they support the project and if they are willing to be relocated.

Some residents asked what the criteria for relocation will be, to which Nghilumbwa responded that the focus is to get the land first. Criteria will then be drawn up in consultation with the community.

Others asked the politicians to fulfil their promise and make sure the project materialises.

“We do not want a situation where we will only hear about Farm 37 in five years again,” one man said.

Another resident said the planned township should have proper houses and services.

“Please do not take our people and just dump them there without proper services,” a woman said.

NAMPA

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