Local Authorities Help with Housing

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By Frederick Philander MARIENTAL The Mariental Municipality is at present availing free land plots to squatters in the three informal settlements on the eastern periphery of the town in the hope that the 2ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 or so inhabitants will build their own homes. So said the acting CEO, Catherine Boois, on Monday during a New Era interview at the town. This particular housing project is expected to cost the local authority approximately N$1 million. “Presently there are about 2ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 people living in the informal settlements of Takarania, Ombili and Oshiwanapendaka behind the existing township of Aimablaagte. These people, migrant workers and unemployed farm workers, are living there totally free in real squalid conditions. The Municipality is in the process of erecting a sewerage system in the area to prevent disease outbreaks,” said Catherine Boois, who is presently doubling as CEO/PRO at the Municipality. A number of people who New Era talked to regarding conditions in the informal settlements, were very negatively inclined about the plans of the local authorities. Some mockingly called the three settlements Opgesukkel because of the hardships they suffer. A number of female inhabitants complained that they are too isolated from the town itself. “This scheme has been designed under the Build Together Programme and is meant to encourage people to build their own homes at cheap prices. “At the moment we are trying to bring some sense of order into the chaos that has been reigning there for a long time. Hence the fact that demarcated plots are handed to the inhabitants. Some sort of planning in the informal settlements is needed to make access possible for emergencies such as shack fires,” Boois said. According to Boois, some 15 self-built homes in the informal settlements have already been provided with a dry sewerage system to make it more comfortable.