WALVIS BAY – The Walvis Bay municipal council has set in motion plans to move the first 50 people from Walvis Bay to Farm 37 within the next few months. The council also indicated they will start with the registration of backyard squatters in Kuisebmond and Narraville within the next two weeks.
Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes made the announcement yesterday evening during a meeting with hundreds of desperate residents who need land and housing.
Farm 37 was identified in 2016 by the former council and the late Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua as the solution to the housing shortage the town is facing. It is situated about 7km east of Walvis Bay.
At least 50 000 residents are either renting or living in backyard shacks, thus exposing them to deplorable living conditions. Farm 37 has the potential to yield at least 30 000 erven. During Covid-19, the government approved the settlement to relocate 800 residents as part of its decongestion programme.
The housing backlog in the town is also estimated to be around 30 000.
Forbes told the gathering that Kuisebmond and Narraville will be divided into wards to make the selection and relocation process fair and transparent.
“We just need a clear indication as to how many people need land. So, bear with us while we carry out the registration process,” Forbes explained.
He also appealed to people not to register on the individual list but only sign up with people authorised by the council.
He then explained that the first 50 people selected are of those who were given land ownership certificates by the line ministry.
According to Forbes, basic needs such as sanitation and water are already available; however, the move needs to be done in phases to ensure they do not run into problems.
“We want to approach this with caution – but ultimately, we want people to own land and not rent land. The process needs to be comprehensive. Hence, don’t worry so much about services… It will eventually also get to Farm 37. At the moment, we want to see what is still lacking.”
Council’s announcement comes after a group of backyard squatters demanded the new cemetery in Narraville be moved to Farm 37 to free up much-needed land and address the housing crisis the town is experiencing.
“The land they earmarked for the new cemetery must be freed for housing. How do you prioritise dead people at the expense of the living? It must go to Farm 37. We are living human beings; we must be allocated extensions even – eight or nine. These extensions are much closer to schools and hospitals,” spokesperson of the group Immanuel Festus said during their recent protest.