The minister responsible for housing, Erastus Uutoni, has rejected assertions that government is using the affordable informal settlement housing initiative as a strategy to garner votes ahead of the regional council and local authority election in November this year.
This follows allegations by opposition parties who claimed the ongoing housing initiative in which government has committed to building 1 200 houses for low-income earners in partnership with the Khomas Regional Council and the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) was an election ploy. The houses in Windhoek are earmarked for Havana, Onyika Number 2, Goreangab Extension 4, Greenwell Matongo-D, Otjomuise extensions 8 and 9, as well as Freedom Land A-B.
“We are focusing on a current situation which we are busy doing, continuing with government programmes. It is not about elections. We started long way back and we will continue to do so,” charged urban and rural development minister Uutoni.
Last week, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila handed over the first ten houses constructed under the pilot project in the Goreangab informal settlement.
The project has the target of completing the construction of 1 200 low-cost houses by July 2022 in the Khomas region. Uutoni, who was speaking to New Era in a brief interview yesterday, said government’s developmental projects, when it comes to people’s livelihoods, are tangible throughout Namibia, adding such efforts will continue to address pressing needs of citizens.
He, however, admitted the issue of service delivery is slow, adding the process is time-consuming, but the efforts by government are done through budget allocation.
Equally, he highlighted government’s focus is very clear: to accelerate tenure security, ensure access to basic services and proper sanitation, as well as decent shelter for our people in general – and especially those who reside in informal settlements. He said electricity is a luxury.
“Frankly speaking, in 1989, you hardly found these setups of roads and electricity. But when the Swapo government took over, a number of projects were done, such as roads, water supply, electricity and housing. Tell me, did you have a town called Katima… nothing. Immediately in 1992, when that town was proclaimed, you could see a lot of development, such as water supply, housing, electricity – and so on,” Uutoni noted.
Namibians will go to the polls on 25 November to vote regional and local authority councillors for the next five years.
Significance… One of the houses, part of the Windhoek Informal Settlement Upgrading Affordable Housing Project
Photo: Emmency Nuukala