WALVIS BAY – When a massive fire swept through the Twaloloka informal settlement on Sunday 26 July 2020 in Walvis Bay’s Tutaleni, it destroyed houses and left 121 families destitute.
However, Otweya has risen from the ashes.
These families have been accommodated in tents since that fateful night last year.
The Namibian government acted swiftly, passing a resolution to build 121 houses for the families.
Today, the houses are about 98% complete, with recipients and members of the Shack Dwellers Association working together to complete the houses. The one-bedroom units are built on a 300m² erf, allowing for later expansion.
Provision has also been made for business erven, a clinic and a school in the area.
Urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni visited the construction site on Tuesday to see the progress of the houses.
“In March, to be precise, this was an open field – and now, there are houses. It is great to see everyone working together. This is what I want to see. We all need to pull in one direction – despite our political party affiliations – and work towards a common goal,” Uutoni said as he walked through the new Otweya.
He then expressed his appreciation towards the local leadership, including the Erongo governor, Neville Andre, and private institutions that have made the project, in partnership with government, a reality.
“When I visited previously, I appealed to the Walvis Bay community, under the leadership of the governor, to work together and work towards one cause – building the houses for our people. What has been reported to me is only progress – no complaints,” Uutoni said.
Uutoni added that he would like to see the houses being handed over to the recipients at least by July.
During the visit, SFDN chairperson Naftali Utoni, who was in charge of building the houses, explained that they employed about 200 people temporarily during the construction and recipients themselves also assisted.
According to Neville Andre, “the private sector also played a critical role, with some companies such as Namdock deploying their own employees to construct one of the houses”.
Students from COSDEC, enrolled in a bricklaying course, also built three houses.
Additionally, “a playground was also built for the children who will be living in these houses,” said Andre.