Inferno leaves 26 families homeless

WALVIS BAY – The need for affordable housing and serviced land was amplified once again over the weekend when 26 families at the Kuisebmond location in Walvis Bay were left homeless after an inferno.

A total of 12 huts were burned to the ground, while a woman and her two children suffered minor injuries.

They were treated and released on Saturday at Walvis Bay State Hospital.

The victims are now at the mercy of good Samaritans to help them rebuild their homes.

The fire took place on Saturday afternoon, just hours after urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni announced the government’s plan to launch the revised National Housing Policy that would provide affordable land to all Namibians.

The core of the policy is the delivery of land through express service.

“What we have observed is that local authorities find it expensive to service the land. Land becomes very expensive, making it impossible for end users to afford. Therefore, the central government decided to inject more money to help local authorities service the land,” Uutoni said.

Local authorities have already been asked to present some expansions that are already planned, surveyed and registered.

The ministry will then allocate funds to service these extensions across the country. “This means that those in need of land will no longer pay exorbitant amounts for developed land, but could pay less than N$10,000,” Uutoni said. He said after the implementation of the policy, Namibians will no longer have to shell out more than N$10,000 for a single service.

The policy will be beneficial to residents of towns like Walvis Bay, where developed land is quite expensive, forcing many to live in shacks in their backyards.

Walvis Bay has been struggling with a shortage of land and serviced housing, resulting in Farm 37 being earmarked to decongest the town.

Nearly half of the city’s residents have been living in backyard shacks or rental properties. However, to date the council has not allocated land to more than 1,000 residents on Farm 37.

Speaking on Friday night at the October 2015 Seafarers United Land and Housing launch, Uutoni said groups like his will become a critical component of the revised National Housing Policy. He said a steering committee was created that would advise the government on how to implement this policy.

He said the revised housing plan will be launched this month, while the first results of the plan are expected in February next year.

“It is also a component of the implementation team. This is the team that will now put everything into action,” he stated.

Minister of Labor Utoni Nujoma, who also spoke at the event, said the late President Hage Geingob declared homelessness and informal settlements a national disaster. Therefore, the government persists in this important task of eliminating informal settlements.

“It will take time. It is not easy… and you forget it and are blaming the Swapo Party. We had colonialism that lasted almost a century. We are trying to reverse that delay,” he said.

Nujoma then called on all Namibians to stand united and make Namibia the best place to live. “I am sure that in our lifetime we will eliminate informal settlements and everyone will have a roof over their heads,” he said. saying.

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