• July 13th, 2020

Ray of hope for Mariental squatters

Hilma Hashange

MARIENTAl - Residents living in informal areas in Mariental town will soon be moved on demarcated land with land titles as per the Flexible Land Tenure System, the Mariental Municipality has announced.

According to the municipality’s senior manager of economic development and community affairs, Catherine Boois, the municipality teamed up with the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia and the National Housing Action group to conduct an enumeration process to update the current database of informal dwellers in the town. 

The program called Communal Land Information Project (CLIP) aims to collect data on all informal settlements in the town and assist the municipality’s efforts towards planning and upgrading of the informal settlements. The enumeration will be completed by February.

“We had consultations with the ministry of land reform to pilot the Flexible Land Tenure System in possible areas we have already scoped out. The department is now working towards the strategy to be approved by council at the council meeting in February,” said Boois.

She said a feedback meeting will be held on 28 January in order to review challenges faced during the enumeration process and for the municipality to offer its assistance where concerns are raised. 
Boois said that once people are moved to a demarcated area, service delivery will be easier. “The first thing we need to do is to rearrange people to the demarcated areas, and that is where the community needs to help the municipality by reporting anyone found grabbing a piece of land illegally. 

“We have arranged with the Namibian police to help us stop people from grabbing land because it is easier to stop them while in the process of setting up rather than demolishing the already set up structures,” she said. 

Boois added that the more people are grabbing land, the more difficult it becomes for the municipality to plan and therefore urged the community to refrain from occupying land illegally so that those that are currently settled in informal areas can be given the basic services such as water points. 

According to Boois, the municipality is aware of the shortage of land for community to build their houses but that some progress has been done. She said to date, the group that received the most land to build houses in the past three years is the Shack Dwellers Federation. “They have recently completed another 20 houses. In Empelheim Extension 3, we currently have 30 people with ministerial approval to buy land and build their houses. This land is heavily subsidized by council in order for the people to afford the land,” she said.

She said council took a resolution at the end of 2019 to combat Hepatitis E and other contagious diseases and informed the buyers that if they want to build toilets on their land, they would be excused from paying building fees for the next two years. In addition, the municipality has sourced a private individual to draw up a building plan for the toilets. 

“When they want to build a toilet, we at municipality just give them the building plan, they don’t pay for the building fees we simply show them were the pipes are connected and we do the inspection as they are building so that we make sure it is a quality structure that is standing there,” said Boois.

Staff Reporter
2020-01-20 08:23:55 | 5 months ago

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