By Pearl Coetzee
WINDHOEK, 22 MAY (NAMPA) - Livestock producers in the vicinity of the Mix informal settlement near Brakwater have threatened to seek legal advice to stop plans for the conversion of that area into a formal township.
This comes after the City of Windhoek appointed town and environmental planning consultants named ?Urban Green? to conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the Mix settlement, and to apply for environmental clearance so that the area could be converted into a formal township.
An estimated 300 Mix residents and several owners of adjacent farms on Saturday attended an information meeting at this settlement, some 19 kilometres north of the capital, to hear more about the plans to turn it into a township proper.
Adriaan Louw, who farms near the Mix settlement, told Nampa after the meeting that some residents from this settlement are invading their properties.
Louw also accused the Mix residents of engaging in criminal activities on neighbouring farms.
?There is just no control here. They steal our grazing, break down fences, start illegal fires, relieve themselves on our land because there are no toilets here, and the noise pollution, especially over weekends, is just too much,? he charged.
Mix is situated on various portions of Farm Emmarentia No. 380 in the Windhoek District, and includes portions 8/380; 35/7/380; 36/7/380 and 7/380, which form part of the larger Brakwater area.
It is part of the urban area land within the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Windhoek.
The process for the transformation of the settlement into a township might take more than a year, Urban Green Environmental Manager Brand van Zyl said.
?In support of the objectives of Vision 2030 as well as the City of Windhoek?s upgrading policy, this project has become extremely necessary and important in contributing to a better quality of life and living conditions for all residents,? he noted.
The implementation of the process will include the registering of residents and the allocation of ervens; the identification of dwellings, relocation and negotiations; the allocation of erven for residents that will be relocated; the construction of water infrastructure, the establishment of a waste water treatment plant, sewerage lines, electricity, roads, clinics as well as schools.
Van Zyl explained that the project will naturally have some negative as well as positive implications for residents.
On the negative side, houses will be relocated to make provision for roads and services such as water and waste water treatments.
Residents will also experience inconveniences during the construction period from all the noise and dust.
On the positive side, residents would end up having access to basic services such as water, sanitation, electricity, sewer treatment, roads as well as an orderly layout of the township with a variety of land uses.
As part of the proposed plan, additional land will be allocated for agricultural activities.
Inhabitants will have ownership over the land, and can get access to finance and housing schemes, according to Van Zyl.
Additional land might, however, be needed to accommodate the more than 6 000 inhabitants currently living at the settlement.
During the meeting, residents raised concerns about the influx of people from the capital, who appear to have already put up structures there.
They claimed that some people who are working in Windhoek are gearing up to take their land from them.
They thus called on the municipality to give the first option for the erven to the current residents, and also to provide low-cost housing to the poor.
In view of the high unemployment rate at this settlement, residents further called on the municipality to provide work for them during the construction period of the new proposed township.
People set up the informal settlement in the 1980s when the former plot owner, the late Heiner Mix, allowed some workers to settle on his property.
Since his death in 1999, the settlement mushroomed in the absence of a landlord.
The residents claimed that they had an agreement with Mix to stay on the 50-hectare plot, but the new owner - Secretary to Cabinet Frans Kapofi - told them to vacate the land in December 2007.
He bought the property through Eluwa Lya Tenda Property, a close corporation of which he was the sole member.
A part of the land also belonged to the then-Deputy Minister of Housing, Kazenambo Kazenambo.
In 2009, Government bought the settlement for N.dollars 5 million to resettle about 3 000 people there.