Residents scramble for Farm 37 plots

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Residents scramble for Farm 37 plots

Anchua Naruseb

Eveline de Klerk


Landless residents of Walvis Bay hoping to secure a piece of land at Farm 37 were disappointed this week by the Walvis Bay municipal council’s announcement that applications are premature.

Council, after being bombarded with land applications for Farm 37, issued a statement saying that no such applications are needed at this stage as they are still servicing the area.

Council apparently received thousands of applications from residents who want to secure a piece of land at Farm 37. Council last year also approved the sale of land at Farm 37 to Power Shield Trading, a Namibian registered closed corporation and a subsidiary of the Defence Force Foundation for the construction of homes for the NDF.

Farm 37 was identified in 2016 by the former council and the late Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua as the solution to the housing shortage the town is facing. It is situated about 7km east of Walvis Bay.

At least 50 000 residents are either renting or living in backyard shacks, thus exposing them to deplorable living conditions. Farm 37 has the potential to yield at least 30 000 erven. During Covid-19, government approved the settlement to relocate 800 residents as part of its decongestion programme.

Municipality spokesperson Cathy Sheya in a statement clarified that the application form was prepared by an external party and members of the public complete it by adding their names and identity numbers. 

“No official announcements have been made by the municipality in this regard and therefore any information or communication on behalf of us should be treated with distrust,” Sheya said.

According to her, council’s commitment to fast track land delivery and servicing on Farm 37 is underway and no application forms from the public are required at this stage. 

“All announcements on Farm 37 or any council-related activities will continue to be made through our official communication channels.”

However, the announcement was met with mixed emotions by those hoping to permanently settle at Farm 37.

Twaloloka resident, Emma Gawases (32) who wants to apply like everyone else, told New Era she is still hoping to be resettled.

She is one of the first residents to settle in Twaloloka.

“We have been here since 2016 and we’ve only heard them saying that they are servicing Farm 37. Next you hear that they are not servicing the land,” said Gawases.

Gawases explained that the waiting process has been stressful and is one of the reasons they are applying for land.

“It would be great if they could finish one of the blocks at Farm 37 and relocate some of the people,” she said. She further explained that most of the land is privately owned at Twaloloka and they fear that they might be forcefully removed.

 “A lot of families live here and we don’t want the Katima Mulilo saga to happen here too,” a concerned Gawases said.

She was referring to last week’s bulldozing of houses by Katima Mulilo Town Council, which obtained a court order for the removal of illegal occupants at Lwanyanda informal settlement.

 Walvis Bay resident Israel Efraim, however, said Farm 37 is too far. He is worried about transport back and forth from the new envisaged township.

“It is really too far and I don’t know how we will commute once we have been relocated,” he said.

Chairperson of the Walvis Bay management committee, Richard Hoaeb, yesterday told New Era the council is in no way planning to evict anyone or plans to demolish shacks that are home to many.

“We cannot move our people without providing an alternative area where they can stay. We cannot also take them to Farm 37 without bringing basic services to that area, but we are fast-tracking the process so that our people can at least know where they will be accommodated,” Hoaeb said.

Meanwhile, council last month, during the tabling of its 2022/2023 budget, allocated N$106 million of its N$551 million capital budget to land development projects for the 2022/2023 financial year.

Hoaeb, during the tabling of the budget, indicated that N$29 million is for the development of Green Valley (Farm 37), whereby two portions will be serviced to yield 727 erven, of which 677 are residential erven.