McHenry Venaani has warned government of a looming humanitarian crisis among the landless, whose makeshift riverbed homes have been flooded this week.
The leader of the official opposition and president of the Popular Democratic Movement urged government leaders to assist a group of destitute people with decent accommodation.
They have been living in a riverbed for seven months.
Venaani said this yesterday while visiting the people who are squatting near a dumpsite along the Daan Viljoen Road in Otjomuise’s Agste Laan area in Windhoek.
A 22-year-old Mercy Ngarizemo, a student at the International University of Management (IUM), moved into the tent after she lost her loan that paid for her accommodation when she failed two modules. Because she wants to continue with her studies she decided to stay in the tent.
According to Venaani, if those in power do not act swiftly to resolve the question of land, those who languish in poverty will one day turn against those in a powerful position to demand food.
“These families are in dire need of help. They are experiencing a serious humanitarian crisis, and we need to act as soon as possible to avoid an angry situation that is likely to occur in future if we do not answer the question of land,” he explained.
Venaani, who was accompanied by other leaders of the party, explained all parties need to come on board to assist the affected people, as his party has for the second time donated food and mattresses to the families.
He said the group needs temporary shelter, because the dumpsite is unhygienic, while permanent structures are being considered.
“As you can see, most of them are sleeping on the ground; they do not have mattresses. Most of them have no food. It is disheartening to see another person going through hardship of this nature. Hence, we will buy items worth N$5 000 so that we can help the people. This does not mean the problem is solved. These people need proper accommodation,” he explained.
The group said they have been living in the riverbed in tents since April last year after failing to occupy land.
They added that renting has become unaffordable, and they have resorted to the riverbed, as they have nowhere else to go.
Most of the people there are from Otjinene, Opuwo, Tsumkwe and Gam area –and they came to the capital city to seek greener