As the nation awaits the launch of the food bank on Thursday, the councillor of Tobias Hainyeko constituency, Christopher Likuwa, is opportunistic that poverty in the constituency will be alleviated.
“Hunger is a big challenge in Tobias Hainyeko. On a daily basis people come and cry at my office, saying they are hungry. Poverty is really a challenge in the constituency,” said Likuwa, who is also a resident of Tobias Hainyeko.
He said that when he took over office from former councillor of the constituency, Zulu Shitongeni, poverty was one of the major challenges he inherited as councillor.
In addition to grinding poverty, which can be clearly seen by just driving through the constituency, Likuwa said he is disturbed by the fact that shacks continue to catch fire on a daily basis, especially during the winter.
“The burning of shacks is still a challenge and the unfortunate part is that we do not have zinc at the office, and even when people come for assistance at the office it may take a while to help them. If a shack burns at night people will sleep in the open if they have nowhere to go,” Likuwa explained.
Considering the dire situation in which most people live, he is sometimes forced to dig into his own pocket to assist needy community members, he added.
About 70 percent of Tobias Hainyeko consists of informal settlements. This means that the majority of people in the constituency live in shacks and they do not have land of their own. There are about 48 000 people living in Tobias Hainyeko.
“This constituency has too many people,” he said.
“We are in consultation with the municipality to help our people with lease agreements. Housing is very important yet many people do not have houses of their own. Most people who come to Windhoek in search of greener pastures either end up staying in Tobias Hainyeko or Moses Garoeb. That is how serious the land issue is,” he said, adding that one of his “dreams” is to see a significant number of people in Tobias Hainyeko owning houses by the end of his tenure.
“The lack of basic municipal services such as electricity is what is keeping our people in poverty,” he added.
With regard to unemployment, Likuwa admitted it is a major problem in Tobias Hainyeko. He said that people are too poor to even send their children to proper schools.
This results in unemployment as some people are forced to stay at home. He revealed however that there are projects in the pipeline to fight unemployment.
The constituency office is in contact with the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare.
“There will soon be projects that will benefit our young people and keep them off the streets,” added Likuwa.