SWAKOPMUND: Disgruntled residents of the DRC informal settlement on Monday demonstrated in front of the Swakopmund Municipality, demanding that the settlement be formalised.
The more than 100 DRC residents are demanding that this be done in order for development plans to be realised so that the living conditions of the settlement’s residents can be improved.
The spokesperson for the group, Ambrosius Marsh indicated to Nampa during an interview on Monday that residents living there are “not prepared to accept excuses” from the municipality with regards to development in the area any more.
The community members say they are “tired of empty promises” made by councillors over the years, some of which include the improvement of water facilities in the area, as well as the provision of electricity and decent toilet facilities.
A petition handed over by the unhappy residents to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Swakopmund Municipality, Eckart Demasius on Monday listed the formalising of the informal settlement, sanitation, the burning of shacks and the water card system as some of the concerns which they want addressed urgently.
“We are frustrated by the delay in the formalizing of the area. Council members have held several meetings with us but nothing has been done to improve the conditions. They have been promising the formalisation of the area for six years now,” Marsh told Nampa.
With regards to shack fires, the residents are demanding that permanent staff members be employed at the Fire Department in the DRC, which they say has become a white elephant.
Another complaint was that only six of the 25 water metres installed in the area are currently working. What makes matters worse is that when the coastal town experiences a power outage, there is no water in the informal settlement as the water metres work with an electric pump.
“We did not ask for a water system, we asked for running water at the erven as some of the people residing there do not have clean drinking water,” Marsh stated.
The protestors threatened that if their demands are not met, they will camp in front of the municipality building.
“We will also demonstrate every time people of significance are welcomed into the town. We will not stop until we get the service delivery we need,” he noted.
The residents say they want a response from the municipality by the end of September.
Demasius confirmed on Monday that he received the petition, but said he could not comment on the issue at this stage.
According to earlier media reports, N.dollars 8,2 million has been set aside in the municipality’s 2012/2013 capital budget for new projects, which includes the formalisation of the DRC informal settlement and N.dollars 5,1 million for servicing of land.
It was reported that plans to formalise the settlement as a residential area were already presented to the town council and approved last June.
The Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Jerry Ekandjo, approved the formalisation of the DRC informal settlement after the town planning scheme met formal government development requirements.