No common ground on Farm 37 …only two communal toilets for 50 families

Home National No common ground on Farm 37 …only two communal toilets for 50 families
No common ground on Farm 37 …only two communal toilets for 50 families

WALVIS BAY – Discussions around Farm 37, which has been touted as a possible solution to Walvis Bay’s housing crisis, reached boiling point on Thursday. 

This was as councillors could not find common ground on the relocation of residents to the area earmarked to decongest the harbour town.

Farm 37 was identified in 2016 by the former town council and late Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua as a potential solution to Walvis Bay’s housing shortage.  The farm is situated about 7km east of Walvis Bay.

However, two Swapo councillors voted against the relocation on Thursday during a council meeting, claiming the relocation was being done too hastily. The councillors argued that the area is simply not ready yet because thus far, it only has two communal toilets and showers with running water. 

All councillors were present during a community meeting held last week. After the meeting, the council briefed residents on the relocation process.

Meanwhile, Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes said the first 50 people will be relocated in due course. He made this statement during a meeting with hundreds of residents desperate for land and housing. However, on Thursday, the town council could not reach consensus, resulting in seven of the nine councillors present voting in favour of the relocation. Councillors Albertina Nkoshi and Ephraim Shozi voted against the relocation.

Explaining her decision shortly before the voting, Nkoshi said she is not against the relocation, but wants it to be done properly. 

“There is only one container that will be used as an ablution facility for both men and women. How do we expect 50 families to make use of this? We can’t even help ourselves to drain the sewage overflowing in Kuisebmond, now we are relocating people where there are no facilities,” she reasoned. She added that people’s health and residents’ lives will be at stake if the relocation is not done properly.

IPC councillor Saara Mutondoka said Farm 37 should not be used as a campaign tool by political parties, and accused Swapo councillors of using the housing issue to win votes.

“Everyone says the IPC is preventing the relocation, so let’s vote so that the public can see who is against Farm 37. We are not gambling with people’s lives, and Farm 37 (relocation) is voluntary. No one will be forced to move there,’’ she added.

Farm 37 needs N$ 300 million 

Meanwhile, councillor Leroy Victor observed that the relocation process is costly as the council will need at least N$300 million.

The shortage of land in the town’s boundaries makes Farm 37 the ultimate solution to address the escalating housing crisis, he said.

Victor added that residents are also not forced to move, but many want to move to escape their current living conditions in backyard shacks.

“The public wants to go to Farm 37. There are over 10 000 backyard shacks, and about 80 plots in town. There is no land serviced to sell. The reality is that our boundaries are full, and we don’t have any serviced plots to sell”, he continued.