Housing remains vastly inadequate

13 July 2020 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected]
While it was projected that Namibia would be 66% urbanised by 2020, the powers that be failed to respond through appropriate strategies to facilitate this change in the human geography of the country and as such, resulted in the growth of poorly serviced informal settlements.
With the recent launch of a new housing initiative for Windhoek’s informal settlements, the envisaged new homes will only cater for a small percentage of homes needed in these areas.
According to the City’s Manager for Corporate Communications, Marketing and Public Participation Harold Akwenye, current statistics from marked structures indicate there are between 50 000 and 55 000 brick houses in Windhoek’s various informal settlements.
The new housing initiative will see 1 200 houses built in Havana Proper, Onyika Number 2, Goreangab Extension 4, Greenwell Matongo D, Otjomuise Extensions 8 and 9 and Freedom Land A and B. The project is set to start on 24 July this year.
While this project only caters for a number of households, the increase of informal settlements throughout the country remains a huge concern.
According to a study published in November 2017 by the Development Workshop Namibia (DWN) and the Namibian Chamber of Environment, there were roughly 10 000 urban shacks throughout the country in 1991, with an estimation of about 190 000 shacks by 2020.
“In 2025, there will be more shacks than brick houses, with projections indicating that by 2031, there will be 533 500 shacks, compared to only 386 500 brick homes,” the study read. While projections indicate that 79% of Namibian homes will be in urban areas within the next decade, 46% of Namibian families will live in shacks.
Another report by the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the Integrated Land Management Institute in June 2018, indicated that like most African countries, Namibia is undergoing a rapid transition from a rural to an urbanized society, putting cities under immense pressure to deal with the growing demand for affordable urban land, housing and services.
“The growth of informal housing is manifested in ever larger informal settlements that cement social and economic inequality, are poverty traps for those who live there, and create an immense burden for future generations and governments.”
Because informal settlements are not proclaimed, other services like water and sanitation also lack, with about 18% of urban residents having no access to toilet facilities back in 2011.
Windhoek Express reported last week that a N$148 million housing initiative that was approved by Council in March last year and was expected to see another 1 200 houses finalised by December this year, has not begun due to budget constraints. This project will now 600 houses finished by June 2021 and the remaining 600 houses by June 2022.

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