No special treatment for Hai-//om San living in Swakopmund

78 members of the Hai-//om San Traditional Authority residing in Swakopmund recently applied for residential plots in the coastal town. Town Council decided not to give the group special preferential treatment, but encouraged the members to participate in the housing registration exercise instead.
In total there are about 300 Hai-//om San community members residing in Swakopmund. They are being represented by the Hai-//om San Traditional Authority. In February, the traditional authority sent a letter to the Swakopmund Town Council explaining the plight of its members.
“Hai-//om San Community is the oldest indigenous community in Namibia, which is still disadvantaged in some cases because of the social economic and educational status, and is also vulnerable (sic)”, the letter states.
[Apart from the San, which are the only true first people of Namibia, all other ethnic groups in the country had their origins elsewhere in Africa and other parts of the world.]
The traditional authority has identified a shortage of proper housing for its people in urban areas of Namibia, including Swakopmund. They therefore request a residential plot in Mondesa for its members and submitted a list consisting of 78 members who are in need of housing.
In the Agenda of the meeting it states that from the names submitted, a total of 21 already feature on the master waiting list. Two of these members already received assistance under the recent allocation of Build Together erven at Mondesa.
“Those who failed to apply for housing, cited unemployment as part of the reasons why they never applied for housing as such they continue to live in informal housing as their only means of shelter (sic)”, it states.
While considering the above request Council decided to not give the Hai-//om San preference, as this could be discriminatory.
“As indigenous people became more urbanised, land remains of immense importance to them: land acquisition is an important investment and can contribute to one’s economic and social well-being”, it states.
Council therefore decided to encourage the members to participate in the ongoing housing registration process exercise. The request to acquire residential land will not be considered as “it may inadvertently complicate Council’s housing allocation process.”

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