THE City of Windhoek plans to roll out 20 000 occupancy certificates to residents of informal settlements towards the end of this year.
This is yet another milestone for Windhoek's municipality after residents of the Okandunda and Havana informal settlements in the Moses /Garoëb and Tobias Hainyeko constituencies were issued 440 certificates two months ago.
Some 1 100 residents of the Mix settlement on Wednesday received occupation certificates for their plots from the City of Windhoek.
Mix falls under the Windhoek Rural constituency.
The certificates allow residents to continue living on the land they occupy and to erect permanent structures on it.
The programme is part of the municipality's efforts to address the housing backlog and formalise informal settlements in Windhoek.
Minister of urban and rural development Erastus Uutoni, who officiated at the handover event, said the issuing of certificates is the first step towards "greater things to come in terms of development".
"I personally refuse to believe that homelessness cannot be overcome within reasonable time," he said.
Uutoni said the ministry, together with the National Housing Enterprise, the City of Windhoek and the Khomas Regional Council, are piloting an affordable housing project in Windhoek, which will eventually be rolled out to the rest of the country.
"This project is aimed at transforming and upgrading informal settlements in Namibia by providing housing to the ultra-low-income members of our communities," he said.
Windhoek's mayor, Fransina Kahungu, said: "This is a clear testimony, marking how important it is for minister Erastus Uutoni and the ministry to solve the plight of our people . . . "
Windhoek Rural constituency councillor Penina Inga Ita said the event constituted the first step for residents in planning the way forward for proper shelter.
She said only some residents received certificates on Wednesday, and that the remaining households would receive certificates by the end of the year.
Joshua Ndjene (81), one of the recipients, said he was grateful and excited.
"I have been living here in the Mix settlement for 40 years now. I cannot tell how many live in my house because some people, family or family friends come to stay and others go after staying for a while. I am in possession of a certificate, which states I am now the legitimate owner of the place where my home stands," he said.
Johanna Goses (71), another recipient, said she has been living at the informal settlement for more than two decades and words can't describe her happiness.
Diolien Goses (28) a granddaughter of Johanna Goses, also received a certificate and said: "I don't have to worry about shack evictions any more. I don't have any child yet, but I have secured a home for me and my family to be."
Edward Hangula said: "The government remembered us, and I am glad I have my own land now."
Meanwhile, Uutoni and Otjozondjupa governor James Uerikua on Friday also handed over about 50 land occupancy certificates to Okahandja residents of the Ekunde Extension 5 informal settlement.
The Okahandja settlement consists of 200 plots. However, the remaining 150 residents certificates are being processed and they and will receive them at a later stage.