Kaleb Nghishidivali

The Otjiwarongo municipality will relocate the residents of single quarters to a reception area, Camp-5. This was said by the Otjiwarongo mayor Gotlieb Shivute yesterday when he addressed the media about on the response to the petition that was handed over to his office on 17 February by a group of unhappy residents who staged a peaceful demonstration to air their grievances.

According to Shivute the Single Quarters residential units were constructed to accommodate bachelors and contract workers within the local authority areas during the apartheid era that remind them about the illegitimate suppression of the Namibian people.

Meanwhile, the Single Quarters have been deemed inhumane way of housing by the council as supported by the government.

“Through our line ministry, a process was embarked upon to eliminate the Single Quarters in Namibia. However, due to inadequate resources, the Municipality of Otjiwarongo finding it difficult to complete the whole process,” said Shivute.

While addressing the media at the council chambers, the mayor indicated that after a thorough understanding of the matters, the ministry decided that the alienation was appropriate however, they were advised to rather take a decongestion approach of the Single Quarters and eliminate the colonial contract workers.

“The survey study that took place between the 8th and 9th August 2020 revealed that about 5 occupants of the Single Quarters   shares one toilet that built by council. It was confirmed that the Single Quarters are congested and is inhabitable due to hygiene related reasons,” said mayor.

He further said that the hygiene at Single Quarters has been a concern and still is, since about 23 units out of 30 units are currently sharing one toilet facility which a situation which is not a conducive state of habitation.

The council is also concerned that the residents of Single Quarters are in debt that owned to the council stood at N$ 1,904 943.85.

The residents had earlier refused to leave and demanded for the council to provide the with toilets and health facilities.

Regarding the query from the residents about the N$ 7 million previously allocated to construct toilets for all the single quarter unit, the mayor replied that the council did not in any way receive such amount.

“The government through the Ministry of Regional, Local Government Housing and Rural Development embarked upon a project in 2017/18 for the purpose of elimination of the bucket system in Otjiwarongo town with said amount equal to N$ 9 million. This money was directly administered by government to the contractors. Therefore, council was not in control of money allocated or disbursed for that purpose. The project is however reported been successfully completed,” stressed Shivute.

Additionally, Shivute addressed the issue of sub-division of plots and to bear the cost for each individual to get his or her own unit, that the general provision of the Urban and Regional Planning Act, 2018 (Act 5 of 2018) sets standards of the size of land to accommodate residential dwellings with specific zoning.

He said the act together with the Town Planning Amendment Scheme which talks of density allows people at least to leave on a plot equals to a minimum of 300m/2.

“These particular properties are not of an adequate size to comply with the minimum dwelling density and accommodate four households. It is ambition of council through the Accelerated Land Delivery Program (ALDP) to accord every head of household an opportunity to access security to tenure,” said the mayor.

The mayor concluded that the demands by the residents for council to reconsider its decision may be looked at, however, given the extent of work council has put into this process and the time invested by various stakeholders, the council is convinced that decongestion plan is the most suitable solution and they have made provision so that person will be left homeless.  

March 16, 2023

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