Disgruntled residents of Havana, Greenwell Matongo and Goreangab informal settlements were up in arms yesterday as they read a petition demanding basic needs and services from the City of Windhoek. The group was gathered at an open space in Havana area, waiting for city mayor Fransina Kahungu who did not turn up to receive the petition.
Community activist Elifas Nghitomoka, who read the petition on behalf of the community, said for the past 20 years they have been without running water, proper sanitation, electricity, tarred roads, proper housing, playing fields, open markets, clinics and other essential services. He further stated, “Our basic human rights are denied to us as provided for in Article 8 of the Namibian Constitution.” Nghitomoka said their move is driven by the pains and suffering they endured; thus, “enough is enough”.
It is also believed that prior to yesterday’s gathering, community members had approached the constituency councillors but all went in vain. He continued saying in 2018, it was only after about 37 people died of hepatitis that the city provided water taps for that area, which is still insufficient, as people continue to walk long distances to have access to water.
Moreover, there are not many functioning toilets in most of these areas. Given that about 20 households share one toilet, this constitutes to about 100 people. In addition, lack of electricity hampers socio-economic development and learners are mostly affected, as they cannot study at night. One of the biggest challenges the community is faced with is shack fires due to candle usage. Due to poor road infrastructure or lack thereof, services from the police, medical ambulances and the fire brigade are delayed or they struggle to locate scenes.
On the same occasion, the activist made it clear “Our demands are not a political game but human right-based as stipulated”. He also appealed to the authorities to prioritise people living in Havana, Greenwell and Goreangab to consider employing at least 60% in project development in those areas.
Ngairiane Tjaveondja, a group member, said they fear for their lives, as gunshots and screaming are heard daily. The entire location they stay remains in the dark with no streetlights, despite electrical poles being erected just before elections. She further said they are living in deplorable conditions, made worse by the garbage heaps that have not been collected in a while.
The petition, which has more than 2 000 signatures, will be handed over to the mayor. The city was given until 18 March to respond practically and positively to the community’s demands. Otherwise, they will resort to non-stop mass, peaceful demonstrations that will include them carrying their water buckets to municipal premises.
“Our demands are genuine; we have been patient enough and time has been a great lesson to us,” said Nghitomoka.
2020-02-28 06:42:15 | 4 months ago