Soek en Kry residents forced to use bushes

17 Jan 2014 15:00pm
KOËS, 17 JAN (NAMPA) – About 200 inhabitants of the Soek en Kry informal settlement at Koës in the //Karas Region are forced to use the bushes to relieve themselves as they still do not have toilets.
Koës is located 132 kilometres east of Keetmanshoop.
These residents moved from the Soek en Kry residential area in 2013, where they lived with friends and family before buying the plots they now own in the informal settlement.
Speaking to Nampa on Wednesday, the residents said they need toilets even if it is just non-flush as this would be an improvement on the current situation.
Some of them have decided to dig holes in their yards which they enclose with corrugated iron sheets and use as toilets.
One resident, Johannes Kooper acknowledged that every house has clean water, which they paid N.dollars 180 to have connected, but they still need electricity and toilets.
He added that the village council informed each of them to pay N.dollars 2 000 individually for electricity boxes at their houses, saying that amount is unaffordable for most people here as many of them are unemployed or work as farm-workers.
“People do not have jobs here, if the white men did not come and employ us to work at their farms then we would just have suffered. People at the village council only give jobs to their friends and family members, they do not care about the community,” Kooper charged.
He suggested that when there is a development project, the council should ensure that the jobs are allocated to community members who are unemployed.
Approached for comment on Wednesday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Koës Village Council, Reinhardt Ochs said the residents agreed to be moved because of overcrowding in the Soek en Kry residential area.
“We asked them and they agreed to buy the plots where they are now. We did not force them to be there. We also informed them that there was no money for the toilets and electricity, but we promised to provide such services as soon as the funds are available,” Ochs said.
He denied that the council informed people that they would have to pay for electricity boxes as they will provide the boxes when the money is available for it to do so.
The village CEO stated that for the first time this year, the council received N.dollars 4 million under the Government’s Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG).
“These finances will be used to provide toilets and electricity to these people starting from July this year. We are also planning to construct roads in that settlement,” Ochs promised.
He dismissed Kooper’s claim that the council only gives jobs to friends and family members.
“We have proof that we gave employment to community members through the Build-Together Programme in 2013,” he indicated.
Ochs said five local contractors were selected, and each contractor employed three to four people from the Koës community to assist in building 37 houses for Build-Together beneficiaries.
“The de-bushing of the area where they are residing now also provided jobs. The council paid those who cleared the area, so every opportunity that we got we make sure that people of the village gets jobs,” the CEO clarified.