Council approves MOU with SDFN

An agreement seeks to fast track land allocations to ultra-low income earners.

18 February 2019 | Government

Paulina Nashilundo; Swakopmund Mayor; “A working group will be established to facilitate the execution of various roles and responsibilities contained in the agreement.”

Adolf Kaure - The municipal council has approved a proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Shack Dwellers Federations of Namibia (SDFN) during its latest monthly council agenda meeting.

According to Swakopmund mayor Paulina Nashilundo, the memorandum of understanding, which will also include the Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG), aims to fast track land allocations to ultra-low income earners in Swakopmund.

“A working group consisting of representatives of the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia, community members, municipal officials as well as staff of the Namibian Housing Action Group will be established to facilitate the execution of various roles and responsibilities contained in the agreement.”

Swakopmund has a huge housing backlog of which the majority of applicants fall under the low and ultra-low income groups. Initiatives such as SDFN therefore contribute positively towards housing delivery in the town. In recognition of these efforts the management committee on 11 October 2018 resolved among others that the municipality strengthens its relationship with the SDFN to be able to join forces in mobilising applicants to form saving groups in order to buy land and construct their houses progressively.

Subsequently the SDFN proposed an MOU stipulating the roles and responsibilities each party will assume to fast track the delivery of affordable land, services and shelter, and to organise community groups in Swakopmund.

The Swakopmund municipality’s roles and responsibilities in the agreement include the continued provision and allocation of land at subsidised rates for the SDFN groups and low income communities. Council will also provide support in the design of services, assist with machinery where needed and with the implementation of services as well as encourage participation in learning exchanges and platforms.

The SDFN is required to spearhead the mobilisation of informal settlement communities and those occupying backyard shacks in order to participate in the planning and implementation of the development initiatives. Its members also need to be in consultation with the Swakopmund municipality to identify beneficiaries to qualify for loans from the Twahangana fund to install bulk services and construct houses.

The NHAG’s roles and responsibilities in the MOU include the provision and facilitation of technical support to the SDFN, specifically in relation to the preparation of layouts, services designs and house plans. The organisation will also facilitate site inspections and monitor the implementation of layouts and construction of houses, as well as facilitate technical training for production of bricks, construction training and service installation for the members of the SDFN. It is also required of the NHAG to administer the Twahangana fund of the SDFN and facilitate learning exchanges for local, national and international activities where necessary.

The SDFN is a network of community-led savings groups with a track record of successful housing solutions for low and ultra-low earners, supported by the Namibian government. According to the SDFN, the network in Swakopmund consists of 605 members who have divided themselves into 15 savings groups. These members have saved an overall amount of N$888 913.85 thus far which clearly shows that they are determined to save adequate funds in order to purchase residential land and build houses.

Council availed blocks 3595 and 3597 Mondesa comprising 34 erven for the SDFN, pending the needs and desirability for the subdivision of these erven on 28 February 2018. The erven are, however, not sufficient considering the backlog of 605 members who are eagerly waiting to acquire land.

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