Informal housing hampers DRC development

The installation of services in DRC in Swakopmund and its surrounding areas is being hampered due to the presence of informal settlers that have erected their homes in the area over the past few years. To be able to commence with the development, Town Council has now decided on various initiatives to ensure the process goes as smooth as possible.

The future of the informal settlement DRC and the adjacent areas known as DRC 2 and Block 25 were discussed at the recent Town Council meeting. According to the Agenda of the meeting several contracts were already awarded for the development of services, specifically for the installation of sewers, but this progress has been delayed due to the large amount of informal settlements.
“Given the delay of the projects, contractual claims may be submitted by the contractors, which may lead to additional cost,” it reads in the Agenda. The point was therefore brought up as Council wishes to identify the intended construction sequence, to inform the residents and to decide on a possible action to ensure that the informal settlers support the construction amongst others.
While the development of DRC has been a priority of Council for many years, several challenges have hampered the progress to date – with new ones arising yet again. “Though very little complication is expected where the structures were built within the boundaries of the erven, serious complications may arise in the situation of other areas,” it states in the Agenda.
Another challenge stated in the Agenda is the excavation progress required, as the sewer will reach up to four metres below the surface level. “Given that some of the areas may contain rock, blasting will be required to excavate,” it reads in the document. This part is extremely challenging, as blasting in close proximity to the structures may lead to damage to property, even though the area shall be cleared of people for a 500 m radius from the blast area. “A feat which is still to be accomplished and considered highly likely to lead to frustration to the inhabitants and potential conflict,” it states. Given the sensitivity of the situation, but also considering the urgency of the development, Town Council has now decided to take various steps to fast-track the installation of services. At the meeting it was decided to approve a specific construction sequence with DRC and DRC 2 to be targeted first. The contractors will also have to ensure that the necessary safety measures are in place. Council also intends to introduce an information system to keep the residents up to date with the development. Lastly Council decided on a temporary street naming system to ensure proper sequence in the development.

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