Nearly 6000 erven earmarked for DRC in Swakop

SWAKOPMUND: The Swakopmund Municipality on Friday announced that the first tenders to survey the Democratic Resettlement Community (DRC) informal settlement will be submitted this Friday.

Speaking during a media conference on Friday, Swakopmund Municipality Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eckart Demasius said the municipality is operating on a five-year plan, which came about shortly after the local authority election of council members at the end of 2010.

The conference was called after recent demonstrations of some 200 DRC residents, who threatened to burn down the municipal buildings if their cries for land are not heard.

Demasius explained that the layout of the settlement was approved in March this year, according to the progress report for 2011/2012 concerning the formalisation of the area.

Nearly 6 000 erven are planned to be developed in the DRC at a cost of N.dollars 600 million.

He said the municipality had to call for survey work to be done in the area, as the new Environmental Act requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be done in the area.

“As a municipality, we had to get acquainted with the new Act due to the fact that the municipality needs to destroy for development to occur. We have not been sitting around doing nothing, there is a lot of work that needs to be done in formalising the area,” Demasius stated.

However, he noted that illegal squatters who erected shacks next to the DRC, are hampering the progress of formalisation.

“If they (plots) were vacant, these areas could have been serviced already. We cannot work and it is a tricky exercise to remove the shacks. The illegal squatters need to be moved first, before surveying can commence,” Demasius said.

The CEO added that designs for a bulk underground infrastructure for water supply and sewerage are currently being done.

“We are on time. The bulk services which will be developed needs the assistance of the community, and preference will be given to people living in the area,” he said.

Furthermore, the CEO indicated that all residents – legal or illegal – need to be registered before they agree to move, so that the area can be developed.

Demasius stated that another reason why people need to be registered is for the municipality to know how many erven are in the informal settlement.

“We are currently in consultations with NHE and alternatively Build Together to find a solution regarding basic housing,” he said.

The demonstration on Thursday caused pandemonium at the municipal building. A petition handed over on Monday to the Swakopmund Municipality by the spokesperson of the group, Ambrosius Marsh, indicated that the residents each want to be given their own serviced erven, and that the erven must not cost more than N.dollars 7 000 each.

The disgruntled residents gave the municipality 72 hours, since the petition was handed over on Monday last week, to respond to their demands, and said they would demonstrate again until their demands are met. This led to the demonstration on Thursday.

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