By Kaleb Nghishidivali
OTJIWARONGO, August 25 – Responding to apprehensions voiced by occupants of the Single Quarter Units in Otjiwarongo, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the municipality, Erickson Mwanyekange, affirmed that the municipality would not move residents to an unprepared area designated for relocation.
Mwanyekange made it clear that the identified area does not meet the necessary requirements for habitation, and thus, the municipality will not proceed with any relocation until the area is deemed suitable. He assured the concerned residents that they will not be compelled to relocate against their wishes, as long as the process is undertaken in a proper and appropriate manner.
The ongoing issue of relocating residents from the Single Quarter Units has been a matter of concern since 2005, preceding the current council members’ tenure. Mwanyekange highlighted the findings of a survey conducted in August 2020, which indicated that the Single Quarter Units in Otjiwarongo suffer from overcrowding and poor hygiene conditions. The survey revealed that more than five units shared a single council-built toilet.
“The hygiene situation in the Single Quarters is deeply concerning, as about 23 out of the total of 30 units are currently sharing one toilet facility. This is not a conducive living condition,” stressed Mwanyekange.
These findings underscore the dire conditions in which residents have been living and the urgent need for better housing management and improvement in an independent Namibia.
During the discussion, Irene Uushona, representing the Single Quarter Units, raised allegations of documents being removed from the council file regarding unit allocations through N$10.00 donations. She also claimed that the municipality sold units to a prominent businessperson and requested a refund.
Mwanyekange refuted these allegations, asserting that he was unaware of any documents being removed and reaffirming that the Single Quarter Units remain under municipal ownership. He also denied knowledge of any unit sales to a businessperson.
Otjozondjupa’s regional governor, James Uerikua, emphasized the significance of accurate information when making accusations. Uerikua, who mediated between the municipality and the residents, emphasized the importance of a practical, apolitical approach to government matters.
“In government, we deal with administration and governance, not politics,” stated Uerikua.
Uerikua requested the municipality to reevaluate its approach to residents and the planned relocation, advocating for a comprehensive, sensitive strategy that relieves congestion without causing harm. He also suggested categorizing residents based on their housing affordability and conducting a socioeconomic survey to identify various financial capabilities within the community.
Uerikua assured all residents of their right to voice concerns and engage with authorities without fear, assuring his office’s and the constituency councilor’s readiness to listen and work together to address the issue.-Namibia Daily News