1 February 2013

Namibia: Housing, Energy Top Priorities for Windhoek

PROVIDING housing, electricity, water and sanitation to informal areas, as well as urgently looking into renewable energy, was high on the priority list at the City of Windhoek's first council meeting for 2013.

Mayor Agnes Kafula said at Wednesday night's council meeting that informal settlements and under-serviced areas would continue to enjoy priority this year.

She said a lack of money, as well as rapid urbanisation, hampered the municipality in delivering the desired services to these areas.

Kafula emphasised that the lack of serviced land for housing and commercial development remains an insurmountable challenge to the council because of the illegal occupation of land. "The City has been experiencing unprecedented illegal and disorderly land occupation in these peripheral areas," she said.

Government has given the Windhoek municipality N$310 million for the servicing of low-cost areas under the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (Tipeeg).

"I am happy to report that the first phase launched at Otjomuise Extension 10 last year is nearing completion," said the mayor. This site is expected to offer nearly 1 200 residential erven, five business and three institutional plots.

Similar projects are planned for the Okahandja Park and Ongulumbashe informal settlements.

"After servicing, qualified applicants whose names are already on the waiting list will be allocated plots to build formal houses," Kafula said.

Servicing of land is expected to be completed in Otjomuise extension 4 in March, and 500 erven in Academia will follow.

Kafula said these initiatives would put the council in a position to address housing shortages and eventually mitigate the high property prices in Windhoek. She added that illegal land grabbing would not be tolerated and appealed to people to be patient.

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