Windhoek — Swapo chief whip in the National Assembly Evelyn !Nawases says the unsanitary conditions in most households on the outskirts of Windhoek and throughout the country, especially in the informal settlements, are appalling and need to be solved.
!Nawases, who passed a motion on poor sanitation, hygiene and lack of access to decent sanitation facilities in Namibia, said records of providing sanitation facilities in the country are not impressive.
According to the 2015 Formative Research Report on Open Defecation Status in Namibia done by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, only a third of Namibia's population of 2.2 milion had access to improved sanitation facilities.
This means on average, more than half of the population practiced open defecation.
"It is our solemn obligation to ensure that every citizen in Namibia has access to a functioning toilet. While the provision of safe water and sanitation to households has improved since independence, much still remains to be done," she noted.
She said an enormous task awaits government to improve on sanitation services through investing in adequate infrastructure, provide sanitation facilities, encouraging hygiene at every level and strengthening government and stakeholder's' cooperation and coordination to realistically explore funding models for long-term water and sanitation infrastructure needs.
Contributing to the debate, Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) MP Salmon Fleermuys accused the City of Windhoek of neglecting its residents in the informal settlement, who he said have no toilets and clean drinking water.
Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa hit back by saying the majority of these residents are illegal settlers.
"They are settling themselves into areas that are not serviced. It would be very much unfair, Honorable [Fleermuys], to start blaming the City of Windhoek for the people who settle themselves into areas that are not prepared for habitation. And therefore, it's better to talk on facts and not politicising the whole thing," she reacted.
Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernard Haufiku suggested that while government is busy implementing sanitation programmes, residents can also dig their own pit latrines to improve the situation.
"It's not like nothing is being done. Sometimes it presents a picture of us as leaders that we are not doing nothing when we come to this house and say the masses are demanding this and people want that. People can actually do things for themselves many a times. To put up a pit latrine is the simplest form of sanitation. It doesn't necessary require much, it require someone to show this is how you do it," he noted.
DTA member of parliament Elma Dienda accused certain key ministries who are serving on the national stakeholder's forum on water and sanitation for doing nothing to improve the situation.
These include agriculture; urban and rural development; health; land reform; environment as well as education.
She said in 2008, the water and sanitation policy of 1993 was reviewed to include a stronger base of stakeholder participation and involvement at all elves.
"The policy principles quoted that all Namibians should have affordable and suitable basic water and sanitation services acceptable to individuals as well as affordable for the nation as a whole. But according to the report the stakeholders don't turn up for meetings. Is it because they are not directly affected that they have a don't care attitude or what?"