Walvis Bay — The Walvis Bay municipal council will require at least N$250 million to develop Farm 37, an area identified four years ago to ease the housing challenges experience at the harbour town.
Town councillor Olivia Andrews during a monthly meeting held on Tuesday night tabled a motion seeking financial assistance from government to implement flexible land tenure to develop the area that can yield 30 000 erven.
The flexible land tenure system is an innovative concept to provide affordable security of tenure to inhabitants in informal settlements.
The basic idea of the flexible land tenure system is to establish an interchangeable tenure registration system parallel and complementary to the current formal system of freehold tenure.
According to Andrews, council has set aside N$38 million in its current budget towards the development of Farm 37.
However, she said, a feasibility study showed that approximately N$250 million is needed to develop the new township.
Farm 37 was identified in 2016 by the former council and the late Erongo governor, Cleophas Mutjavikua, as the solution to the housing shortage the town is facing.
Last year, government also approved the settlement to relocate 800 residents as part of the decongestion programme due to Covid-19. "The objective of the motion is to seek financial assistance from government for the development of low and ultra low housing at farm 37 by means of implementing flexible land tenure. Walvis Bay is one of the towns with limited land available, and there is a need to restore our people's dignity by availing land and housing," she explained. Andrews further added informal settlements face a huge challenge of shack fires that have left people homeless.
According to Andrews, Covid-19 also had extended repercussions on the community from job losses, resulting in homelessness at the town.
"Land grabbing can also be avoided as well as backyard shacks. Housing and land is overall a concern for our town," she said.
Thus, she said, the purpose of the motion is for government, through the ministry of urban and rural development, to assist financially towards the development of Farm 37 by implementing the flexible land tenure.
"This request is in line with the Cabinet directive that addressed the development of Farm 37. Therefore, is it imperative that government speed up the process by budgeting sufficient funding for the development of Farm 37," the Independent Patriots for Change councillor appealed.
Andrews' motion was, however, opposed by Swapo's Ndota Shozi, who requested the issue to be referred back to council for informal discussions.
"The motion is referring to two separate issues: the flexible land tenure system and Farm 37. We, as council, need to interrogate ourselves to have a common position before we approach government," Shozi said.
As a result, the motion was referred back to council for an informal discussion.