MARIENTAL - The relocation of residents from the Donkerhoek informal settlement to a newly-established location has sparked mixed feelings.
The Mariental municipality plans to relocate 80 households to a newly-established informal settlement as part of the formalisation programme to minimise land grabbing, and pave the way for development.
“Our aim is to formalise the informal settlement. So far, we have serviced extension 1, Empelheim with 670 plots. We will relocate those people behind the Otjiwanapenduka location,” said the town’s CEO Paulus Nghiwilepo.
Before the relocation, the municipality will install a water network with prepaid meters to ensure the provision of some essential services to the residents.
Nghiwilepo gave the assurance that the municipality is committed to formalising all settlements, addressing the concerns of both the relocated residents and those remaining in formal areas.
However, some residents are reluctant to accept the relocation, expressing concern about the small sizes of the new plots.
Jason Kafita, who has lived in Donkerhoek for over 10 years, believes the allocated plots are too small for his family of more than 10. “I don’t know why they chose to move us now,” he said.
David Losper demanded that the municipality provides water and electricity before relocating them.
“We welcome development, but we first want services so that we can move freely,” he stated.
Joseph Kandongakahuti expressed happiness that the municipality has found them a place, but urged them to speed up the process of providing services.
Johannes Vangu Tobias said he had used old materials to construct his home, and it will be difficult to use them again.
“Because I am unemployed, I used old materials to construct my home. Moving those old poles and zinc to reconstruct another home will not be possible as the materials are fragile. It is a very inconvenient process,” he complained.
Asteria Joseph echoed similar sentiments, saying the municipality must at least assist them with materials to ensure they have decent homes.
Adding his voice to the commotion was Sikongo Jeseya, who pleaded with the municipality to not only assist with transport, but to also help with money to ensure they can construct decent homes.
Hendrina Kastoof said moving is not a problem, but as they are unemployed, the council must at least provide them with nails and poles.
On the other hand, some residents who have already relocated to the new place likewise face challenges.
One of them is Isaak Zaals, who mentioned the lack of water and electricity as well as the high cost of moving as his chief concerns.
Loide Haufiku, who resides in a proper house close to the newly-established location, has a different complaint.
She fears potential property devaluation and an increase in crime in the area due to the relocation.
Additional reporting by Shoombe Shanyengana, a media officer for the MICT in the Hardap region.