Shacks must become “an extinct species”

Hundreds of residents of Kuisebmond gathered at the Kuisebmond stadium last Saturday, (31 October 2020) demanding improved living conditions. People chanted they want action. They no more believe the empty words of political promises.

The five opposition parties that will contest against the ruling Swapo Party in the upcoming local authority elections said they are ready to deliver “measurable results” to the people of Walvis Bay in the next four years. They want shacks to become “an extinct species”.
The local authority of Walvis Bay, dominated by the ruling Swapo Party since 1994, has failed the the next four years. They want shacks to become “an extinct species”.
The local authority of Walvis Bay, dominated by the ruling Swapo Party since 1994, has failed the people in the delivery of serviced urban land, and affordable housing. Twenty-six years after the re-integration of Walvis Bay and thousands of peoples’ only roof over their heads are shacks, with the associated evils of fire danger, no proper ventilation and exploitation by landowners renting out these shacks at exorbitant prices.
In most instances these landlords don’t even afford their tenants basic services of a toilet or place to shower or bath. For people living in shacks, basic services like sewerage, clean water and electricity are distant dreams most often only phrases in promises when the next political cycle campaigns to stay in power.
Residents who gathered at the Kuisebmond stadium demanded feedback on a letter submitted to the Walvis Bay municipality in September. The people demand from landowners who rent out shacks to treat them with dignity and reduce shack rentals. Landlords in most instances refuse the people on their properties access to ablution facilities and steep rentals result in people having to move from one place to another, as they simply cannot stay ahead with the rental prices.
Many of the residents who live in the Twolaloka area also demanded the local authority make more land available.
“There is no way all of us can live in Twaloloka, the land is too small”, said Martha Hendrik, the group leader. Hendrik explained Twaloloka is too densely populated and more land should be made available as a matter of extreme urgency.
“We are tired of this way of living. We request our Local Authority to liberate us from these living conditions. We want to live without stress and worries”.
Namib Times directed the peoples’ concerns to representatives of the five main opposition parties that will be contesting in the upcoming local authority elections in Walvis Bay on 25 November.
Representatives of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR), Independent Patriots for Change (IPC), Joint Walvis Bay Residents Association (JWRA) and Landless People Movement (LPM) agreed the time has come to separate Walvis Bay’s housing dilemma from politics.
“Separating social challenges like housing and access to decent services from politics is the only practical approach to deliver results. It does not matter what your political affiliation is. Every Namibian has the right to live their lives in decency. We can only bring respect and decency to every Namibian if we cancel out local authority politics and tackle our social challenge with vigor and with a results-driven program”, observed a senior official in the Walvis Bay municipality who said he too is disappointed in how the successive Swapo-led local authority councils neglected the harbour town’s housing and infrastructure needs.
A local authority candidate for the IPC said it should be every politician and every Walvis Bay resident’s moral duty in the next four years to eradicate shacks and make it an extinct species that will never return again to haunt the people of Namibia.
Picture on the front page: the Twaloloka informal settlement in Walvis Bay was devastated by a fire earlier this year. Twaloloka became the symbol of the severe social evil shacks brought into the lives of the people of Namibia.

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