Newly appointed Urban and Rural Development minister, Peya Mushelenga, has urged employers to offer financial assistance to their workers and other direct forms of support to enable them to acquire decent accommodation.
The minister also suggested that the war against the housing crisis should be fought from different fronts and urged “financial institutions to develop and offer concessional structured financing to enable the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) and local authorities to service and provide affordable land”.
These, the minister said, should be able to supplement state funds as the housing backlog has become overwhelming while more shacks have mushroomed.
The latest data on the types of houses Namibians occupy from the Namibia Inter-censal Demographic Survey (NIDS) from 2016 indicates that from 2016, 26.6 percent of families in the country lived in shacks.
“Development Workshop Namibia (DWN), an NGO focusing on urban development and planning has conducted shack roof counting exercises using satellite pictures of some informal settlements in urban areas in Namibia.”
“These found for example that between 2012 and 2016 roughly 15 000 “shack-like structures” were erected in the capital city of Windhoek alone,” highlights a latest report done by Dietrich Remmert and Pauline Ndhlovu.
Mushelenga has said via a combination of efforts from the government, community-based organisations such as the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia as well as through the Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), the ministry was able to build 4 960 housing units during the 2017/18 fiscal year.
“The highest percentage of these units have been realised through the government-sponsored initiative, namely the Mass Housing Development Programme, the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) as well as grant funding to the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia,” said Mushelenga.
Joint efforts by the central government, local authorities and sections of the private sector have resulted in the delivery of some 4 424 serviced plots during the preceding fiscal year, he added.
“A large percentage of these numbers has been brought about through the government-sponsored initiatives such as the Massive Urban Land Servicing Project (MULSP) and other capital projects that have been funded from the development budget and implemented by regional councils and local authorities.”
“The other portion was financed, among others, through the external commercial borrowing by local authorities, partnership agreements between local authorities and private financiers/developers and funding towards land and housing development by the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF),” he said.
In efforts to improve the sanitation problem 6 173 toilets and ablution facilities linked to new houses constructed were built.