The unhygienic situation and lack of sanitation at informal settlements, such as the Democratic Resettlement Community (DRC) in Swakopmund and Tutaleni in Walvis Bay, are of major concern to residents of the Erongo Region.
The Governor of the Erongo, Cleophas Mutjavikua, says dumping sites at the two settlements have to urgently be removed and access to basic services, such as water and sanitation, must be made accessible to residents at the two settlements.
During a press conference on Thursday Mutjavikua impressed on the local authority councillors and municipal officials to ensure the prevailing situation changes for the better, or else they should ship out and make way for people who are capable of delivering on the aspirations of the electorate.
“We’re under the instructions of central government to fulfil our duties on time and correctly, or ship out so that others can come and do it. We cannot occupy positions while we don’t carry out our duties,” Mutjavikua said.
In his speech he acknowledged that the conditions in the DRC are not fit for human beings and instructed councillors and municipalities to ensure the area gets the attention and services it needs.
“Most of the time we seem to have sound relationships when we are sitting like this, but this is not what happens behind the scenes. That’s where we box each other about the DRC and Tutaleni situation. This morning, when I met the mayor of Swakopmund [Nehemia Salomon], I didn’t know whether we would even greet each other, because of the DRC situation,” Mutjavikua explained.
Governor Mutjavikua said elected leaders need to deliver throughout their period in office and should not wait until election time to start performing. He was, however, quick to point out he was not addressing the issue merely because of the upcoming regional and local authority elections.
“Many will think we only talk about DRC before elections, but we talk about it on a weekly basis. We push each other around over the DRC. We’re not happy as leaders. We’re tasked to provide services to the people.
“Environmental cleanliness at the DRC is a must. It bothers me. Come October there must be a total change. It’s not part of an election strategy. I’m doing it, because it must be done. Our people cannot live in filth,” he said. “We’re not only talking about DRC in isolation, but also about Tutaleni. Those are our serious [trouble] spots that need to be addressed.”
New Era visited the DRC this week and found that the area known as Seaside Park was swamped by flies and a heavy stink from a nearby rubbish dump hangs over the place. Waste material from the scattered rubbish dumps pose a real danger to residents, as one can find used sanitation pads, used condoms and sharp objects, such as broken bottles among the piles of rubbish.
Residents said, though, that they have no choice but to dump their rubbish at the nearby sites. “We’ve been told that it is impossible [to get basic services here], as the settlement is illegal. We have on numerous occasions requested the municipality to at least put skip containers here, so that we can dump our rubbish in it. However, they [municipal officers] said it’s an illegal settlement and they cannot provide us with any,” the locals explained.