WINDHOEK– The Municipality of Mariental need close to 3 000 serviced plots within the next five years in order to keep up with the ever-growing demand of houses in the capital of the Hardap Region.
Between 3 000 to 3 500 people live in Mariental’s informal settlements and the 268 houses being currently constructed under the first phase of the Mass Housing project would be, comparably, a drop in the ocean.
Last year, the town experienced a crisis when armies of residents illegally grabbed land, forcing high-level political intervention.
In an interview with New Era yesterday, the CEO of Mariental Municipality, Paul Nghiwilepo, confirmed the shortage of land delivery at the town.
“We want to provide people in the informal settlements with municipal services such as water, electricity, sewerage system and refuse removal as well as roads. There was an issue of land grabbing last year. During this time there was a lot of political pressure not to destroy these people’s shacks and also not get court interdicts to evict them. Now they settled there and we plan to demarcate their areas properly,” the CEO noted. In addition, he attributed the exorbitant house prices to the shortage of serviced land, saying if more serviced land was available then house prices would be affordable to many.
He said although the town received about N$5.2 million for the current financial year for servicing of land by the government, more resources still need to be allocated to keep up with the ever-growing population of the town.
“The money we got will not even be enough to service 50 plots and most of the land we have serviced is taken up by the Mass Housing Project. So more serviced land is needed. We therefore have ambitious plans to service about 3 000 plots within the next five years because the town is growing so fast and we can’t cope with the demand of land. Whenever there is land, people just grab it and that is why we want to service as many plots as possible,” Nghiwilepo explained.
According to him, the town plan to extend its boundaries within the radius of about 25 kilometres on all sides, in exception of the flood-prone areas. However, he revealed that since last year, the town has since managed to secure some land which they bought from developers for development of the town. Adding that they are in consultation with a local church to secure more land measuring some 620 hectares.