Shacks do not exist at the mining town of Arandis, Erongo Region, and council wants to keep it that way by shifting focus to alternative housing and public-private partnerships to provide proper and dignified houses to residents, regardless of their income.
Arandis, dubbed the flagship of the region, is home to about 10 000 residents but the number is expected to increase once the Husab Uranium mine becomes operational.
Briefing New Era on Monday on housing strategies, the town’s mayor Risto Kapenda said the council is determined to keep shacks at bay through alternative housing and public-private partnerships with businesses such as mines. Currently the most affordable alternative house costs N$60 000 for a one-bedroom unit and N$80 000 for a two-bedroom.
“Decent housing is not a distant dream and eradicating shacks in the country is possible if we as municipalities and councils shift our focus to alternative housing and public private partnerships to provide quality, affordable houses to our residents,” Kapenda explained.
Kapenda says Arandis places emphasis on catering for the needs of its residents, including ultra-low income residents, while also making sure they have access to basic services.
“We don’t have mass housing here but as you can see there are no shacks in Arandis. Our secret is simply to build what our residents want, can afford, and make sure land remains affordable despite the challenges we face with the servicing of land,” he said.
The mayor explained that they have entered an agreement with the Development Bank of Namibia and Husab mine for the mine’s employees, whereby they provided land for the construction of 18 different alternative show houses.
The prices range from N$280 00 for a two-bedroom house to N$650 000, depending on the type of house.
“Residents can view the houses and decide what suits their pocket. The idea is to build based on their needs, and only what is needed to avoid unoccupied houses,” Kapenda said.
Apart from that, Kapenda said, they constructed eight show houses at the Arandis swimming pool, for ultra-low income residents. “These houses range from N$60 000 for a one-bedroom and N$80 000 for a two-bedroom. The price includes the plot and it is indeed affordable.”
Council also availed seven blocks of land to the Shack Dwellers Federation to construct houses for its members.
“Housing opportunities are massive in Arandis. There is no need for our people to live in shacks if we can venture into low-cost housing with a lifespan of more than 25 years. We want to maintain the status of Arandis being a shack-free town by giving dignified lives to our people, regardless of their circumstances,” he said.
“At this stage we are envisioning ourselves as an economic hub, a competitive alternative tourism destination and a centre of educational excellence, therefore we must provide land also to attract investors. They bring money and create jobs which in turn provide housing opportunities for our people,” he explained.