Andrew Kathindi

The City of Windhoek has yet to take action on decongesting the informal areas of Windhoek amidst rising COVID-19 cases, nearly a month after President Hage Geingob gave the directive.

Urban and Rural Development Ministry Executive Director (ED), Nghidinwa Daniel confirmed to Windhoek Observer last month that the ministry had given directives to the Windhoek local authority to implement the decongestion plan.

Chairperson of the City management committee Moses Shiikwa had previously stated that implementation would likely take place at the end of August, as it would need to go through the channels, passing through the Committee before being brought to council for approval. The final decision on implementation of the plans would be the one from council.

However, that has not yet been done. When contacted for comment, Shiikwa was mum on the progress of the decongestion plans stating, “Just call the Mayor”.

This is despite the fact that management committee should lead the process.

On why the matter has not yet been brought before the council, Windhoek Mayor Fransina Kahungu said, “It’s the management committee to recommend to council and council was supposed to meet on the 30th of August. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had its way and we could not meet. Tomorrow we will meet as council and I strongly think it will be one of the items to discuss.”

Kahungu had previously stated there was an urgent need to implement the decongestion plan with land in Otjomuise having been identified as it was the most feasible location to provide temporary services, such as water and sanitation

This comes as Windhoek to date has recorded 3,443 cases, and has become the new epicenter for the virus. Windhoek currently only has 25 cases less than Walvis Bay.

Health minister Kalumbi Shangula on Wednesday 2 September announced 97 new cases in Windhoek. Overall, since 1 August, Namibia has recorded 5,468. The country has recorded 7,844 cases to date.

“I am concerned not only because COVID is going up but the people from the informal settlement are affected. I am hoping it will part of items to discuss tomorrow at council meeting,” she said.

This comes as residents of Walvis Bay’s Twaloloka informal settlement were moved to neighboring location, amidst the coastal town’s rising COVID-19 cases.