18 May 2017 12:10pm
By Paulis Shiku
WALVIS BAY, 18 MAY (NAMPA) - Efforts to acquire land for a development by the Municipality of Walvis Bay paid off on Friday when the news of Farm 37 from the Namibia Planning Advisory Board (Nampab) was disclosed.
Following a community meeting in February and several news reports on Farm 37, the landless of the coastal town have been waiting to hear that the local authority gained ownership of the land for the envisioned development project.
Nampab comprises members appointed by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development with a mandate, among other duties, to supervise local authorities and regional councils with regards to town planning.
In fact they had already communicated to us verbally [last] Thursday before the Friday meeting, Walvis Bay Municipality Chief Executive Officer, Muronga Haingura told Nampa on Thursday.
Haingura could not disclose many details because he is waiting for an official document that will authorise the approval by Friday.
With pressure from the landless renting backyard shacks, grabbing land and demanding municipal services, the town authority last year applied for Farm 37 from Nampab.
The initial application was turned down because the community was not consulted on the matter and the Environmental Clearance Certificate was pending at that time.
The area is situated close to a dusty quarry, which could pose a danger to peoples health on the virgin land located five kilometres south of Walvis Bay.
The envisioned development is expected to solve land scarcity at the harbour town as the municipality plans to relocate more than 65 000 landless people.
Speaking on the Namibian Broadcasting Corporations Otjiherero Radio on Wednesday, Erongo Regional Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua said the idea is that people will work to build their own houses at Farm 37.
There will be no backyard shacks at Farm 37 at all. We do not want our people to live like that anymore, said the governor.
He said instead of employing expensive contractors to build houses, beneficiaries will provide labour and cut costs.
Wherever we come from, be it Oshakati or Omaruru, we built our own houses, so why can we not do that in town? I believe we can and we will.
A land grab last week by more than 1 000 landless people at Walvis Bay ended in the arrest of three women and the injury of seven people by rubber bullets when police evicted them.
Most are still sleeping in the street, claiming they have nowhere to go.