Kap-en-Bou cries for basic services

Niël Terblanché

Residents of the Kap-en-Bou informal settlement in Grootfontein are pressing the local municipality to expedite the provision of essential services like water and electricity.

The settlement, which sprang up following a land grab incident in 2017, has seen its population swell, intensifying the demand for basic amenities.

Currently, residents have to purchase water from the nearby Blikkiesdorp settlement, paying their neighbours up to N$20 per container.

The origins of Kap-en-Bou trace back to 2017 when residents, led by activists, occupied municipal land, leading to significant community and political upheaval.

The actions were part of broader land allocation protests that demanded transparency and accelerated the provision of land to the landless, sparking intense debates and confrontations within the community.

Indileni Lungameni, the acting Chief Executive Officer of the Grootfontein Municipality, described the provision of services to Kap-en-Bou as challenging due to the illegal status of the settlements on planned erven.

According to Lungameni, the municipality’s current plan involves relocating residents to a designated reception area equipped with over three thousand erven, which is expected to better accommodate the population with essential services.

“Until then, the municipality will continue to provide incremental basic services,” he said.

Further complicating the local governance landscape, recent events have seen internal conflicts and allegations of corruption among community leaders and municipal officials, reflecting deep-seated issues of governance and mistrust in the allocation of land and resources.

As part of its efforts to address these challenges, Lungameni said that the Grootfontein Municipality is advancing towards the installation of prepaid water meters and standalone pipes at the new reception area, a move expected to be completed in the coming months.

“This step is fundamental to stabilizing the situation by providing more structured and equitable access to water for the residents awaiting relocation,” he said.

Lungameni said the situation in Kap-en-Bou is evidence of the complex interplay between urban development, land rights, and municipal governance.

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