Christian Democratic Voice (CDV) president, Gotthard Kandume expresses dismay over the slow progress to develop Swakopmund’s Democratic Resettlement Community (DRC) into a proper establishment, with basic sanitation and running water.
Kandume, who leads the newly-formed party, says that the groundless promises made by government and the Swakopmund Municipal Council have left the residents of the impoverished community to live in an unhygienic environment.
“People don’t use proper fire wood and material to build their homes, thus children often get sick as a result. I therefore call upon the Swakopmund Municipal Council to work harder with the government and act on this problem,” he said.
According to Kandume numerous complaints have been raised by the residents and the council has made promises to better the situation but nothing has been done so far.
In August last year, the DRC residents also handed over several petitions to the Swakopmund Municipality over erven, access to proper basic sanitation and lack of running water. He also added that the money allocated for the development and formalisation of DRC has not been used accordingly.
“I understand that funds were made available for the water and sanitation infrastructure as part of the TIPEEG programme for developmental and job-creation projects, but were not utilised for the intended purpose,” Kandume said.
Back in 2010, just before the regional and local authority elections, President Hifikepunye Pohamba expressed the government’s concern about the provision of decent housing, as well as lack of adequate sanitation in some towns and settlements, especially in the informal settlements.
Pohamba then used the DRC informal settlement in Swakopmund as an example. The president further warned councillors not to just stand for positions but instead to address problems at hand in their towns when elected.
The DRC community elected a Concern Group in 2012 in hope of accelerating the formalisation process.
The spokesperson of the community-elected Concern Group, David Nghiimbwasha said they are still in the darkness regarding the formalisation process of DRC.
“We have made a lot of efforts and we are just waiting for the council to come back to us and let us know where we stand. To date, nothing has been done towards the formalisation of DRC. We are not saying that it should happen overnight, but it would give us hope if we at least see some progress being made,” said Nghiimbwasha.
Nghiimbwasha said the mayor hand-picked the newly-elected Planning Committee without involving the community and that has created a lot of confusion among them as they believe they deserve the right to choose who can lead them. He also said that he also received several threats from the Council, saying he does not know what he is talking about and therefore should start following instructions and wait for the formalisation.
According to Nghiimbwasha, there are about 40 000 residents in DRC and problems with water have become worse over the years. There are only a limited number of taps and some are far away from the homes, thus people have to walk long distances to fetch water.
“It is not safe for women especially those with children to carry 25 litres of water containers over long distances at night. The least the council can do is better the water situation and build more taps for us for the people, Nghiimbwasha said.
The spokesperson also raised concern about the burning of shacks, saying that a minimum of three shacks burn every month. This is caused by the unavailability of proper electrical facilities.
As a result of their living conditions and in attempt to provide food for their families the residents tend to avail themselves to do peculiar jobs, even if they lack experience and/or know the dangers associated with the activities.
Both the Mayor of the town and CEO of the Swakopmund Municipality could not be reached for comment at the time of print as they are said to be out of town.