The Namibia Planning Advisory Board (Nampab) turned down an application by Walvis Bay Municipality to use a piece of land (Farm 37) situated a few kilometres outside the town for the development of a new suburb.
The new development was expected to provide affordable houses to thousands of backyard squatters and landless residents at the town.
Nampab is a board of members appointed by the Minister of Urban and Rural Development to advise the minister on the establishment of townships. It oversees urban and regional planning and also supervises local and regional authorities with regard to planning.
The farm in question, situated some five kilometres outside Walvis Bay en route to Utuseb, was earmarked for housing development earlier last year after intensive consultations between Walvis Bay Town Council and Erongo Regional Council, as the key to affordable housing and urban land to mitigate the land and housing shortage currently being experienced.
Farm 37 was initially handpicked by both local and regional authorities, backed by Governor of the Erongo Region Cleophas Mutjavikua after the land grabbing incident at Tutaleni last year.
The aim was to develop a completely new suburb for very low-income residents and to accommodate backyard squatters, while at the same time easing the demand for affordable residential land at the town.
Walvis Bay Mayor Wilfred Immanuel told New Era that the council had applied about eight months previously to use Farm 37 to develop houses for ultra-low income earners at the town, but their application was turned down on November 22, 2016 by Nampab during a meeting in Windhoek.
Contacted for comment the chief executive officer of Walvis Bay Municipality, Muronga Haingura, said the rejection is not final and that they have already requested an audience with Nampab at Walvis Bay later this month.
“This is not definitely the end of our idea. We will have roundtable discussions and hopefully Nampab will see why it is so important for us to use that area to develop the new suburb for ultra-low income residents,” Haingura said.