Low turnout at City's public meetings dissapointing

08 Jun 2015 14:30pm
WINDHOEK, 08 JUN (NAMPA) - City of Windhoek (CoW) Councillor Joseph Shikongo has expressed disappointment at the low turnout of community members at consultative meetings underway in the city.
Speaking to Nampa on Sunday after a public meeting that took place at Martti Arthisaari Primary School, Councillor Shikongo said the low turnout is disappointing and discouraging.
The City of Windhoek launched a series of public meetings last month to explain its programmes and operations to residents.
The meetings also seek to get input from the residents to the City’s projects in order to strategise on further courses of action.
The consultative meetings are held over weekends, and Shikongo attributed the low turnout to alcohol abuse over the weekends.
He said people opt to go drinking at the vast number of shebeens which are open anytime on weekends, instead of attending the meetings.
Alcohol abuse is a problem in Windhoek, he stressed.
At the Martti Arthisaari PS meeting, only 10 people turned up, while at Ella Du Plessis High School about 12 people attended the meeting which was addressed by former Mayor of the City of Windhoek, Elaine Trepper.
“People in the formal residential areas are not attending meetings, but people in the informal settlement turn up in big numbers,” Shikongo said.
He indicated that in the informal settlements, one meeting is attended by more than 700 people.
“Maybe people in formal residential areas do not have problems such as ablution facilities and electricity, while people in informal settlements are the ones who have problems which needs the City’s prompt attention,” he said.
He called on Windhoek residents to attend meetings in order to help come up with lasting solutions to the capital’s problems.
Most of those in attendance at these meetings expressed anger over the shortage of housing in Windhoek.
They indicated that they have registered for houses with the Municipality since 2004, but are forced to rent houses or live in shacks.
They also complained about the just-commissioned Tugela family and recreation park in Wanaheda, where there is no electricity.
The participants claimed that the park is not safe, especially for women, at night and in the early hours of the morning.
They also alleged that some people smoke cannabis in the park.