Namibia: Revamped Build-Together Project Kicks Off At Swakop

The Swakopmund municipality yesterday began the process of building 150 houses under the Build Together programme.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in the Mondesa suburb to launch the project. The first phase will include the construction of 30 low-cost houses, which are scheduled for completion by September.

There are, however, fears that the state of emergency regulations may make it hard to get materials on time.

One of the beneficiaries, Tiana So-Oabes, told this newspaper that she was very excited to own a house. She is married and has three children.

"At the moment, as you can see, we are living in this shack. We have applied over three years ago, and now finally we can look forward to our own proper home. We are very excited," she said.

Swakopmund CEO Alfeus Benjamin said "good things are still happening in difficult times. There is still a need for housing, and we are pleased to be able to build these houses for somebody; not just anybody."

The town's mayor, Nehemiah Salomon, said the council had recently approved the project to build 150 houses under the Build Together project, to stay aligned with the government's national objectives of affordable housing for all.

"Housing remains a complicated matter in challenging times too. There is pressure on urban space with the continuing urban migration of our people. There is also the factors of availability of land, and the affordability of housing," he said.

The new project will run parallel with the '40/40 housing initiative', which was launched in the last quarter of 2019, and will see 1 600 houses built over two years. Since the national mass housing programme was introduced in 2013, the Swakopmund municipality has serviced 2 948 residential erven within its 13 extensions at a cost of N$233 million.

There are about 13 500 people on a waiting list for housing. Fewer than 900 have been accommodated so far. Housing has become a pressing priority in Erongo as the region is experiencing a demographic shift in population, based on economic circumstances seeing thousands of people moving to the coast to find work in sectors such as fisheries and mining.

Although the Swakopmund municipality has made significant progress in addressing the housing challenge and land provision, many Namibians remain unable to keep up with the inflated standard of living in urban areas, and find themselves in dilapidated informal shelters on the periphery of towns.

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