Community association established in Walvis Bay

Non-political

17 September 2020 | Local News

Makenzie Neib; Co-founder; “We are here to represent the interests and the wellbeing of the broader Walvis Bay community.”

Walvis Bay •[email protected]

A newly formed organisation aimed at representing the interests of the Walvis Bay community was officially launched on Tuesday.

The Walvis Bay Community Association (WBCA) is a non-political association, and is not aligned, affiliated or sympathetic to any political party.

Co-founder Mackenzie Neib said that the association was established in February 2020.

“After lengthy discussions with residents, we decided to form this organisation to represent the interests and the wellbeing of the broader Walvis Bay community. Membership to the association is not restricted on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.”

Neib, who invited all residents of the harbour town to join the WBCA, says division on the basis of any of the aforementioned is not tolerated or entertained.

“The association is a legal entity that is a community association formed by the community and for the community.”

According to Neib, political parties are the main cause of division and the reason for the slow pace of development in Walvis Bay.

“Political party representatives are more loyal to their parties than to people. Our main objective is to unite the community and put politics aside. We took note of how the gap is increasing between rich and poor. Whilst political bickering and in-fighting are ongoing, community members are living in poverty, homelessness, hopelessness and despair.”

Neib highlighted a number of issues that the WBCA will be tackling.

Housing

“Housing, which is a basic human need, remains a big concern in Walvis Bay. The majority of the residents live in shacks, with no hope of ever owning a house of their own. Many residents lost their lives and livelihoods in fires. Despite this, no permanent solution is in sight. Many residents are now renting either backyard shacks, rooms, flats or houses, from those who have multiple properties. We call on and urge the municipality to revert to municipal housing, like in the past and to make decent houses affordable.”

The WBCA is also of the opinion that development currently taking place in Walvis Bay only favours the rich.

“Luxury flats and apartment blocks are being built all over town, while our poor residents are being excluded from owning these properties. Instead, the poor are moved to the outskirts of town to the places such as Farm 37 so that the rich can get prime land.”

Covid-19 burials

According to Neib, the ongoing Covid-19 burials and the way it is being conducted has added more misery and grief to already grieving families.

“On top of the grief over the loss of a loved one, this burial method adds psychological pressure to loved ones and leaves them traumatised. We urge and request authorities to be more considerate and humane in this regard. Despite the authorities stating that mechanical equipment should not be used during a Covid-19 funeral, we are still seeing this happen.”

Supplementary registrations

The WBCA also stated that the supplementary registration of voters was a strenuous and time-consuming exercise. The supplementary registration of voters ended on Tuesday, with residents queuing up until the early morning hours to register.

“We feel that an extension of this process would allow more prospective voters a chance to register.”

Elections

The WBCA is in the final stages of registering with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to participate in the upcoming local and regional authority elections slated for November 2020. “The WBCA cannot participate in the regional authority elections because we are not a political party. We are however going to field two independent candidates for both urban and local constituencies,” Elvis Goseb, another co-founder of the association, added.
Neib said that they are confident that they will be able to participate in the elections, even though their application is not yet finalised.

“We submitted our application on time and we are in daily communication with the ECN, so we are confident we will soon receive our certification.”

Community engagement

The WBCA said it intends to engage all residents of Kuisebriver basin, Narraville, Kuisebmond and greater Walvis Bay town through meetings, conferences, media as well as personally on a monthly basis, or as needs be.

“The WBCA shall act on behalf of residents on all formal platforms, be it business, political, nationally or internationally, as long as it aims to promote and better the socio-economic conditions of the community of Walvis Bay.”

Currently, the association is engaging with community members on a door-to-door basis and working in the community to generate members and awareness.
The team is guided by an interim committee consisting of six members until a committee can be chosen by the community.

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