President hands over 20 houses at Otweya
08 November 2020 | Infrastructure
Hage Geingob; President; “The government is listening and acting to address the concerns of all Namibians…”
President Hage Geingob handed over 20 houses that were built at the Otweya informal settlement in Walvis Bay by the Shack Dwellers Federation in collaboration with Standard Bank Namibia.
The houses were constructed on the former Twaloloka area where a devastating fire destroyed 153 homes and claimed the life of a 1-year-old boy. The area was renamed Otweya and the residents were accommodated in tents.
Geingob called on the private sector to partner with government in addressing the housing challenge in Namibia.
“Partnership is key. Housing is a necessity and government is focused on delivering decent housing to all Namibians. Alongside employment creation, housing is one of my two key priorities. Gender-based violence, which I have committed to deal with, is also caused by poor living conditions. It’s one of the biggest problems in our country, that our people are still living in shacks. This is why we declared war against informal settlements.”
He urged Namibians to be peaceful and to promote unity as a precondition for development.
“The government is listening and acting to address the concerns of all Namibians. This is your government and notwithstanding the progress of the past 30 years, we have heard you regarding the challenges we continue to face. We will address them.”
Naftali Utoni of the Shack Dwellers Federation said that the Walvis Bay municipality allocated 20 plots to the federation in October 2020 and said the construction of the houses commenced on 15 October.
“It took about two weeks to complete the houses. This success was made possible by the fact that the builders are also members of the Shack Dwellers Federation. They understand the process, the needs of the people and the requirement of building at an affordable rate.”
Erongo governor Neville Andre explained that an additional six erven have been allocated to the federation on which the construction of houses commenced on Friday.
“The Walvis Bay council has approved the allocation of land to Power Shield which is the foundation of the armed forces that applied for land to build houses for 500 of their members in the armed forces. Council on the same day, also allocated land to a consortium of seven fishing companies upon which they will construct houses for their employees.”
Andre said he was hopeful and will ensure that both these two beneficiaries of this land commence with construction of these houses within the next five months.
“Our people are impatient to see that this land be used for the intended purpose of constructing homes for families that do not own their own homes.”
Andre also explained that a piece of land adjacent to that of the fire site is currently being serviced and said that on Friday the construction of 16 houses had commenced there.
“Speedy delivery of quality output is the guiding principle here in the Erongo region. At Farm 37, council has laid water pipes on portion 10 and the provision of services will commence thereafter the servicing for portion 11 will follow.”
He said that portions 10 and 11 of Farm 37 will yield 667 residential erven that will be allocated to the most vulnerable and needy residents that are currently renting and living in backyard shacks and other properties that they do not own.
Meme Albertina Epahras, a mother of four and one of the beneficiaries, could not hide her joy at receiving the keys to her house.
“I’ve been waiting for a very long time, we are extremely happy. I’ve been living in a shack since 2006; we are not suffering or crying anymore. My family now have a home to call their own.”
She said that she joined the federation in 2011.
“I joined the federation knowing that the trust I have in the federation will pay off. I knew this federation will help the people to one day own their own homes.”
Her home was built by a fellow federation member Tate Matheus Indongo.
“I’ve been a builder for more than 12 years, and also joined the federation in 2011. I’m hoping for the best, but I am confident that soon I will own a home,” Indongo said.