KHORIXAS - Juliane /Uxams, the regional facilitator in Kunene for the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN), has entered into agreements with several municipalities, village councils and town councils for SDFN to build over one hundred low-cost houses in Kunene Region.
In terms of the agreement the federation was given virgin land, which the beneficiaries will de-bush and dig trenches for the installation of water and sewerage pipes. It was also agreed those listed as beneficiaries will make bricks and have weekly meetings where progress reports will be shared.
Based on affordability, monthly contributions are expected to be made and some beneficiaries that spoke to New Era said they made contributions ranging between N$250 and N$300 so that they could in turn access the housing loans being availed by the SDFN, to enable them to build a house comprising of one bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen, but if the beneficiaries want a bigger structure they are requested to provide the extra funds.
/Uxams said a week ago: “We are busy with hundreds of houses in Kunene. We want to do away with shacks.” At Outjo, according to /Uxams, 72 houses are under construction, at Kamanjab eleven houses are under construction while at Khorixas 28 houses are under construction although 34 houses were supposed to be constructed.
Fransfontein settlement has completed 36 houses over the years, and there is a plot available for 126 houses at the settlement but due to challenges such as lack of sewage, water and electricity infrastructure funding construction did not begin yet, but according to /Uxams the construction of the houses is locally driven “and the beneficiaries must inform us when they are ready as we cannot say when the next phase will be”.
At Opuwo, there are more than 300 people on the waiting list and approximately 30 houses will be constructed in the Kunene regional capital this year. Khorixas has 190 people on the list and Khorixas town council has availed a plot for about 150 houses.
Sibila !Aibes, another Kunene regional facilitator for SDFN, says three out of 72 houses constructed at Outjo are in the informal settlement, while the 69 houses are nearby Marshal Primary School on the plot given by the Outjo municipality, where construction started last October.
“We want to upgrade informal settlements therefore those who own an erf at the informal settlement must rather build their house on it,” /Uxams advises.
At Outjo alone there are 640 members who belong to the local shack dweller groups who are awaiting plots. The two regional facilitators say that the Kunene regional council, office of the governor together with local authority councilors have been of great assistance as some of them such as Kunene Governor Marius Sheya, Outjo Constituency Councillor Johannes Antsino and Outjo Mayor Samuel !Oe-amseb have been assisting them since the making of the bricks for the houses. Antsino and his team work on constructing elderly people’s houses at Outjo every Monday for four hours.
Emma /Gomes, whose house is currently under construction at Khorixas between Hollywood and Donkerhoek informal settlement, says: “I am delighted. The Khorixas town council must assist us to dig holes for sewage water. We are doing most of the work ourselves and with the positive relationship we have with the Khorixas council we can go far.” /Gomes is currently residing with five children in a rented house from Khorixas town council for which she forks out N$1 000.
Johannes Asser /Gowaseb, who resides with his girlfriend and two children in a shack with holes in Donkerhoek informal settlement at Khorixas, sells his livestock at times to make his monthly contribution for the housing loan.
/Gowaseb who is a farmer says SDFN has a good initiative but if there were more support from the government and businesses more houses would be completed on time.
Desery Hoaes, Edison Tjihero from Namibia Housing Action Group and Arthur Scholtz from Pupkewits were part of the group that visited Outjo, Khorixas and Kamanjab.
Tjihero is the support technician for Kunene from Namibia Housing Action Group.