Statistics released by the City of Windhoek show that 116 000 people in Windhoek live in shantytowns.
In his presentation on the ‘Role of Land Reform in the Eradication of Poverty in Namibia’, at the just-ended Foreign Policy Review Conference in Windhoek, City of Windhoek (CoW) acting chief executive officer Fillemon Hambunda, said the number of people living in informal settlements is projected to reach 148 000 in 2020.
According to the 2011 census, Windhoek had 340 000 residents – majority of whom live in informal settlements where there are no toilets and many other basic amenities.
“At present, a large number of households in the informal settlements have access to land but not security of tenure because some live on invaded municipal land,” he said, adding that the City of Windhoek takes cognisance of the fact that in today’s globalised world, nations, city towns and villages can hardly afford to exist, operate and provide services in isolation.
A report by Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) released this year reveals that since gaining its independence in 1990, Namibia has experienced rapid urbanisation that has resulted in the spread of informal settlements.
Local and national authorities lack the necessary information about those communities in order to incorporate them into urban planning.
Hambunda further stated that land reform in its current form could not contribute significantly to poverty eradication.
“As a consequence, many people from rural areas migrate to urban areas to escape poverty. This migration is unsustainable in the long run because the impact on urban areas is immense. In other words, such a migration to the urban areas provides virtually the same challenges to those in leadership and management. However, I move that another land conference be held to take stock of what happened with the first land reform programme, assess the drawbacks and lessons learned and thereafter craft a new land reform programme with specific emphasis on poverty reduction.
“I advise that focus be placed on the following list: the optimal use of land, farmers’ support programme and marketing and management of agricultural resources,” he said.