Alvine Kapitako Windhoek-President Hage Geingob, having seen for himself the filthy living conditions in Havana informal settlement in Windhoek on Friday, has called for control of the influx of people into the country’s cities. Geingob also encouraged people to refrain from settling on unserviced land “just because the country is independent”. “It’s a pity that we have this situation in the city,” said a clearly unimpressed Geingob, who witnessed first-hand the unhygienic living conditions of the people in Havana. The president’s visit was prompted by the outbreak of hepatitis E in Windhoek, with Havana the most affected area. Last week, the health ministry reported that 553 cases with clinical signs of hepatitis E have so far been attended to at various health facilities. About 284 of the total number of cases were reported in Havana. This is followed by Goreangab informal settlement with 144 cases and Hakahana with 21 cases. Other surrounding settlements reported a few sporadic cases. Three deaths linked to the disease, all of women who had just given birth, have been recorded to date. “I’m glad to be here to see the conditions under which you are living in the capital city, which was once known as the cleanest city in Africa but has been overtaken by Kigali (Rwanda). Now I can see why Kigali overtook us,” said Geingob. During the colonial times there was influx control, the president said. “People were not allowed to just move as they wanted. We think we are free to move anywhere, even illegally, to put up a shack and say I fought for this country I can live anywhere,” said the president. He spoke against the mentality of people putting up shacks anywhere. Instead, people should develop the areas where they come from, stated the president. Geingob said that some areas have not yet been planned or serviced and this makes it difficult when people settle in those areas. “We’re going to die, so please, we cannot just move as we want. There are no services where you’ve settled. The area was not planned for that. If the city plans and services the area and tell people to live there they will get the services. But to just come on your own and say I’m free and just settle – thereafter you say there are no services. Of course there are no services,” he said. Geingob further remarked: “This is not a disease like cancer which you inherit, it’s just a question of an unhygienic situation. Are we going to allow that? No!” He asked people to dig holes in which to defecate as opposed to just openly relieving themselves without covering the excrement. “Yes, in the villages we dig and then cover up. I don’t have to talk like this in the capital city,” said Geingob. The president also spoke out against vandalism, urging communities to take care of their properties, including public toilets. The City of Windhoek last week cleaned up some parts of Havana that were very filthy, in an effort to contain hepatitis E. Havana resident Tuyenikelao Hamalwa told Geingob that one of the open areas that were cleaned up last week is used as a refuse dump. “We also defecate here and now it has brought us this disease. We don’t know what to do because this is where we have to dump our refuse,” said Hamalwa. After the municipality cleaned up the area, the community continued to make the place dirty, added Hamalwa. “I don’t know what the problem is because as parents we are supposed to tell children not to make the place dirty, but it is mostly adults who are making this place dirty,” said the 37-year-old resident. Meanwhile, community members who spoke to New Era say the clean-up by the municipality is in vain as long as there are no toilets, taps and skips (refuse containers) for the people to dump their refuse in.
2018-02-05 08:48:36 7 months ago