Tsumeb Municipality has availed 17.65 hectares of land to be serviced, of which 291 erven will be offered to residents of the densely populated Soweto informal settlement in an effort to ease the proliferation of shacks in the area, as well improving the hygiene conditions.
The transformation will cost council at least N$32.7 million, of which N$14.2 million will be for servicing roads, installing stormwater drains and electrical infrastructure.
“The water and sewerage reticulation land servicing project is due for completion by the end of August, although the project is in a deficit of N$0.2 million, as central government only availed N$10.5 million. Meanwhile, government again allocated N$8 million during the 2016/17 financial year,” said the CEO of Tsumeb Municipality, Alfeus Benjamin.
“We have, however, engaged engineering consultants to do the design for later projects with the hope to acquire extra funding from our debtors, including those in Soweto, who owe council N$10.2 million for basic water and sewerage services,” Benjamin added.
He said the exercise is intended to uplift the living standards of informal settlers.
A survey of shacks conducted by the council’s in-house team in 2014 counted 260 shacks occupying public open spaces and streets in the informal settlement. The latest move to service the area will thus pave way for council to charge and collect rates and taxes, which the municipality was unable to do because of the informal nature of the existing settlements.
In its quest to maintain hygienic conditions, the municipality provides domestic refuse removal in the informal settlement two or three times a week, although he said domestic refuse accumulates fast as the rate of refuse generation is very high due to over population.
Tsumeb has since 2012 spent N$3.5 million to install prepaid water metres in all semi-formal households in Soweto, including a project to construct additional ablution facilities for individual households, which was jointly implemented with Oshikoto Regional Council at a cost of N$2 million.
He said they have built five prepaid public toilets, including showers to be used only by those living in shacks.
“All these interventions were done with a view to improving the livelihood of the informal settlers. However, the same people who have been provided with household ablution facilities are still using the public one (toilets), just to avoid paying municipal bills,” Benjamin said, stressing the importance of the envisaged transformation.