‘Redistribution’ of congested informal settlements

16 September 2020 | Infrastructure

Windhoek • [email protected]

All informal settlements in Windhoek are to be classified as so-called “catchment areas”, in which Namibians from rural areas will initially be accommodated until they can be allocated a permanent residence.
Based on this, the population density of these settlements should be reduced.
This plan was announced by Windhoek mayor Fransina Kahungu at a media conference yesterday. “The minister for urban and rural development, Erastus Uutoni, recently called on all local authorities to identify overcrowded areas and to devise an appropriate settlement strategy,” Kahungu said.
“City council yesterday consulted on how best to relieve congestion in informal settlements,” Kahungu said, adding that it was decided that people living in overly congested areas would first be relocated in another area of the same settlement. “Should there be no space for a relocation in the same settlement, accommodation in another area will be sought,” she said.
To implement this plan, city council set up a working group headed by the department of housing. “A reduction in the population density of informal settlements is the first step in formalizing this area,” Kahungu said.
This is a necessary step to provide people with a decent living space.

Who will pay?
When asked by this newspaper how the city would finance the necessary sanitation facilities and access to water, electricity, and sewerage, the mayor said: “Most informal settlements already have the basic supply. We only need additional facilities.”
In the meantime, Uutoni already said that his ministry did not have any funds available to ease congestion in the settlements. The question of whether the city would raise residents’ rates to develop this land, was refuted. “We are only at the beginning of the planning phase,” Kahungu said.
In other news, Kahungu confirmed that city chief executive Robert Kahimise had resigned to take up the position of executive director of Cenored. His last working day at the City of Windhoek is 31 October.