Plans underway to remove 30 000 squatters from coastal towns

The towns Swakopmund and Walvis Bay want to relocate all backyard squatters and “do away with shacks entirely.” Various leaders from different institutions met this week to discuss the initiation of a programme to relocate about 30 000 squatters from both coastal towns. “It is not that easy though,” said Erongo Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua in an interview with namib times.

Mutjavikua made the announcement initially this week during a hand-over of bricks meant for victims of recent shack fires in Swakopmund. “The situation in Mondesa need an urgent turnaround (sic),” he said during the handover and mentioned that a meeting with various stakeholders regarding the issue of backyard squatters took place this week. In an interview with namib times yesterday he gave more details.
“We are working on a programme to relocate about 15 000 squatters from Swakopmund and about the same amount from Walvis Bay,” he said. In the case of Swakopmund a suitable area on the eastern side of the Nam-Water pipeline has already been identified. In Walvis Bay it was decided to relocate the residents to farm 37, an area on the road leading to the Walvis Bay airport. “We will not allow anymore shacks though. Only houses will be allowed,” he said.
With this step it is the intention to prevent a similar situation that came about with the development of DRC (Democratic Resettlement Community). “We want to create proper suburbs and put in services for the people,” he said. It is his vision to demarcate a suitable area and have people buy land. “They must pay for it,” he said. The services will be financed in part by Government as well as the local authorities. “It is the idea that the residents put in the essential services (water, sanitation etc.) themselves. They must dig. If people do the digging the costs will come down by a lot,” he continued. With this new development the Governor wishes to see all shacks disappear entirely and have them live in houses made from alternative building materials. Mutjavikua did not go into detail, but instead said that any alternative building material is currently being considered.
During his speech this week the Governor made his stance regarding backyard squatting clear, saying that “we need to move back yard squatting out of Mondesa.” “I hope that the meeting (that took place this week) is not just another meeting, but that we come up with a programme,” he said. Yesterday he said in an interview with namib times that the relocation “is not that easy though”, which is why another meeting is scheduled to take place around September 10.When the relocation is set to take place has not yet been determined.

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