By Desie Heita
Instead of waiting for the authorities to provide housing, the lower end of the Tsumeb population is building houses for itself with the limited resources they have scraped together.
The first 30 houses built by the community were inaugurated in February this year. The Tsumeb Town Council has deemed the programme so successful that it has availed additional space for the construction of 25 houses.
Community members are working through the Shack Dwellers Federation, which the Mayor of Tsumeb, Engel Nawatiseb, said is providing housing at a faster rate.
“They are building capacity within the vulnerable groups by transferring building skills,” said Nawatiseb in his report back to the community on the council’s performance over the first quarter of 2008.
Demand for land in Tsumeb is picking up, with numerous enquiries lodged with the town council offices every day. This is against the background of the scarcity of land as most of the land belongs to Weatherly International, the owners of the copper mine and copper smelter in Tsumeb.
“Council’s efforts to acquire more land from the new mine owners, Weatherly Mining International company, looks promising,” said Nawatiseb. The town council also wishes to have the Ondundu area, part of which in the past was developed into a gardening project by the previous owners of the copper mine.
Demand for land, however, is not only limited to the low-income earners of the society. Middle-income earners are in need of land and housing, with great interest received from different property developers.
One of the private developers is currently in the process of putting up a flat complex in Tsumeb.
To accommodate school-going children who came from other regions, the Tsumeb Town Council has approved the building of a private school hostel for about 600 learners. “Construction would hopefully start as soon as possible and learners would have a secure and safe place to stay,” said Nawatiseb.
Other positive achievements recorded in the first quarter include the continuous upgrading of the Soweto residential area, with 68 ablution facilities completed. This leaves only two streets where water connection and sewerage pipelines are yet to be installed. This is expected to be done by September this year.