SWAKOPMUND: Concerned members of the DRC informal settlement met here on Saturday to mobilise plans to speed up the development of the area, which is situated on the outskirts of town.
The meeting, a third of its kind, followed a previous attempt by the residents to have their voices heard via a petition, which was rejected by the Swakopmund Municipality on 20 August this year.
Spokesperson of the group, Ambrosius Marsh stated during Saturday’s meeting that the municipality indicated, at a council meeting held last month, that the petition did not meet the requirements as per the Local Authorities Act (23 of 1992).
Marsh however said the group was baffled by the council’s explanation for rejecting the petition, as the Act talks about service delivery only and “does not mention how a petition should be written”.
He said the municipality indicated during the council meeting that all the details of those who signed the petition are not included in the petition. The concerned group was also encouraged to work with the DRC Planning Committee, which is recognised by the council.
A letter has since been written to the DRC Planning Committee by the group, but no response has been received yet.
Marsh said the group then held a demonstration, also during August, to air their concerns regarding the formalisation of the informal settlement.
He said these concerns seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
Another petition was handed over in August, but the Swakopmund Municipality’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eckart Demasius apparently indicated that the petition had to be discussed at a council meeting before a verdict could be reached.
“We handed over a petition, but have not received any information from the councillors as yet,” Marsh said.
The petition listed concerns about the formalisation of the informal settlement, sanitation, the water card system and the DRC lease agreement.
“What must we as a community do? We cannot keep quiet anymore, all of us are concerned and no one is happy about living like pigs,” he said.
Marsh suggested that the municipality should look into bringing development to the area by working with the residents, instead of just doing things for them.
“We want to work with the council to lay the pipes and do the groundwork in the area as a team effort, but they are refusing our assistance. It is imperative that each of the steps in the planning process are done with full public participation. In this way, the plan will receive the support of the community during the implementation,” he said.
The group handed over a third petition to the Swakopmund Municipality on Monday, giving the town authority 72 hours to respond.
Amongst the demands indicated in the latest petition are that each person living in the DRC area should be given their own erf: that the erven must be serviced with both electricity and running water and that erven should not cost more than N.dollars 7 000.
Demasius could not be reached for comment. Nampa contacted his office but was informed that he is out of office until Thursday.