House issue tackled in Walvis Bay
‘No free houses’
02 March 2021 | Local News
Trevino Forbes; Mayor; “We are looking at providing houses for residents, but I can assure you it will not be free.”
The Walvis Bay municipal council is devising strategies to tackle the housing crisis in Walvis Bay.
Mayor Trevino Forbes said that the Twaloloka fire last year was amplified because shacks were built too closely together.
“Thereafter another 27 shacks burnt down earlier this year. With the remaining shacks, we decided to decongest and make space between each one. The confusion came when people thought we were relocating, when we were only decongesting. The idea is that should another fire start, it won’t consume all the shacks. This will also allow fire fighters to move between the shacks and to fight fire more efficiently.”
He added that more than one entity has approached the municipality about fire ball extinguishers. “We are looking into this. I was at the fire brigade when they tested these balls and it really works. However, it might be best for the fire brigade to acquire these balls for their use, instead of for residential use. They say it’s a first aid kit for fire, but the explosion it causes when it is thrown into a fire might scare ordinary residents.”
Forbes said that there are a number of issues when it comes to lists or registries of people who are landless.
“Housing lists are a major problem in Walvis Bay. Our plan as council is to start fresh with a new list. I believe we did a survey last year to look at backyard shacks. Housing is definitely a big concern, we are looking at ways to cater for all our people, ranging from low to high cost housing.
Furthermore, the mayor emphasised again that the list being compiled by the Janet Martin Charity Foundation is not endorsed by council. “We are not involved and we were not approached for input. Despite this, we are looking at our residents and how we can be of assistance to them.”
There are a number of houses standing empty in Walvis Bay and Forbes said that they are looking into who they belong to or were allocated to.
“Council will then take a decision on how we are going to handle these houses. As yet, nothing has been decided. [However], we can sell them if they have no owner. In addition, people working in the housing department were suspended pending investigation, so it leaves us with a lot of work.”
As is with any entity, Forbes explained that all process go through an application. “The same goes for acquiring land. Houses are not free. There is no such thing as free houses.”
The mayor said that in terms of Twaloloka houses, there are rumours that recipients are not from Walvis Bay. “Whether you were born here or not, we all need a dignified way of living, and that is what we are looking at. Obviously past housing lists and the ones we will be facilitating, will be looked at for us to see where we can assist.”