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‘Broke’ city promises 15 000 plots 

2022-07-27  Edward Mumbuu

‘Broke’ city promises 15 000 plots 

With less than three-and-a-half years remaining on their term, the municipal council of the cash-strapped Windhoek municipality has set its sights on delivering 15 000 residential plots during their tenure. 

Of these plots, 12 000 are earmarked for the low-income segment of while 3 000 are reserved for the middle to high-income market segments.  “Availing erven translates directly to housing opportunities, however, this involves significant finances and time to implement,” were the words of mayor Sade Gawanas yesterday, when she dismissed claims the opposition-led municipality is a shadow of its former self. 

Her press conference, a day after she stormed out of the management council press conference, was aimed at addressing pertinent issues confronting the council. 

Chiefly, she touched on the strategic plan of 2022-2027, land and electrification five-year plan, familiarisation visits and renewal of agreements with sister local authorities, courtesy visits and key discussions and outcomes and council meeting highlights. 

Her remarks come a day after management committee member Jürgen Hecht painted a bleak picture of the municipality. 

This also happens at a time when the MC is hell bent on restarting the CEO recruitment process. 

Gawanas did not say how they intend to source funding for the envisaged plots. 

To maximise efficiency and effectiveness in housing delivery, council passed the affordable housing policy and entered into development agreements for affordable housing with the National Housing Enterprise (NHE), she said. 

“Delivery of the first houses under this arrangement is expected within a year and months,” she said.

The council further made strides in formalising informal settlements. 

So far, the council issued 29 136 certificates of acknowledgement of occupation, of which 21 133 (73%) were issued to household heads in the informal settlements. 

“Another 8 000 minimum certificates will be issued in August 2022 and shall continue,” the mayor said. 

To further cement their seriousness on the provision of housing, Gawanas said council adopted the affordable housing policy as its policy guide in housing, which culminated in the Windhoek Housing Programme (WHP). 

“To test the concept, council in April 2022, identified eight unserviced erven and commenced with servicing the erven which was completed in June 2022. The construction of affordable housing units is scheduled to start in August 2022 and anticipated completion is six weeks after commencement,” she said. 

The beneficiaries will be drawn from the land and housing waiting lists.



The elephant in the room was the recruitment and selection process of a substantive CEO for the city. “The recruitment and selection regulation does not empower the MC to take a decision on behalf of the local authority council, especially where the powers cannot be delegated,” she said. 

Gawanas will call a special council meeting where the fate of Windhoek’s CEO will be decided, she said without giving specifics. 

“The next six months will be equally busy and focused on implementing as many resolutions as possible whilst finalising all outstanding and equally important matters,” said the politician. 

She said only council has the power to appoint a CEO. This power, she stressed, council has not delegated to anybody or committee, including the MC. 



Gawanas also delved into the city’s new strategic plan for 2022-2027. 

The provision of housing and land is also central in the strategy. 

Council, she said, has already entered into 14 public private partnership agreements and one co-development agreement to service 2 903 erven.  

They are zoned as: single residential (2 429), general residential (237), business (125), institutional (16) and other land uses (96).



Windhoek is a city in financial distress and there is barely any room to manoeuvre, if documents provided by Hecht are anything to go by. 

“No commercial enterprise would have survived such amounts of losses and would have been declared bankrupt within two to three years…this means City of Windhoek cannot settle its current expenses and liabilities by means of its cash resources and outstanding debtors,” Hecht said. 

The municipality is sitting with a cumulative loss of N$3.2 billion in the last decade, N$300 million wage bill, N$100 million annual employee vehicle scheme, N$70 million losses on bus services and a lifelong post-retirement medical aid scheme for which it spends N$27 million a year. The latter amount is a growing liability as it depends on the number of employees that go on retirement. 

“The City of Windhoek is a titanic which has hit the bottom of the ocean, its present only lifeline being its N$200 million overdraft facility with FNB Namibia,” Hecht said. 

He did not mince his words: “It will take very ingenious and committed financial engineering along with some ruthless decisions to get this ship raised from the sea bottom to independently start sailing the wide-open ocean again.”

2022-07-27  Edward Mumbuu

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