By Donna Collins
SPECIAL provisions are going to be made by the Swakopmund Municipality Property Policy, to include residents with disabilities for the allocation of land, and that a ‘Master Waiting List’ for people living with disabilities be compiled according to the date of application with certain criteria put in place to qualify.
According to the Namibian Census Report of 2011, the percentage of people living with disabilities in the Erongo Region stands at 2.5 percent, of which 1.9 percent resides in the Swakopmund constituency.
Meanwhile council is currently servicing and finalising multiple erven in new extensions which are soon going to be made available to the public. It was confirmed by council that whenever a residential area is developed, at least two percent of the total erven completed are to be set aside for people with disabilities.
Following a plea from amongst others, disabled Mondesa resident Lasarus Simon who for the past 13 years has been renting a backyard shack, from which he has also been running a small business to supplement an income to support his large family, finally received some positive news after years of living in hope.
Lasarus is one of a number of vulnerable (elderly or people living with disabilities) that had approached council to prioritise them during the allocation of land or houses. Unfortunately their applications in the past were either overlooked or unsuccessful, as there was no serviced land available at the time, nor a special department set up to formulate a policy to allocate land to vulnerable people.
Polio victim Lasarus told Confidente that he applied under the ‘Building Together Programme’ back in 1994, but nothing came of it. He wrote a follow up letter to the municipality in March 2016, pointing out that he was a SME upholsterer who also provides employment to fellow residents, and that unless he has his own home his business would never grow and he would never be able to provide a proper home for his family.
However, during the first 2017 council meeting the announcement to allocate land to disabled people gave hope to Lasarus and many others like him. “I am very happy because I have waited and suffered a long time for this moment, but I will be even happier the day I have that piece of land to call my own own.”
Council also proposed that an Inter-Departmental Committee be established with certain criteria put in place for the allocation of residential land the disabled. Also that the town planning scheme will make provision for such residents to operate small businesses from their houses as their handicaps are often a set-back, and present a difficulty in moving around.
Other criteria will request the submission of a medical certificate clearly indicating the physical impairment or restriction and activity limitation. Also that beneficiaries from the Special Housing Scheme is for people earning not more than N$6 000 a month, as not all disabled persons are classified as vulnerable since many occupy well paid jobs in the Government and private sector.
Furthermore, the committee agreed that Swakopmund is experiencing a shortage of affordable housing and people with disabilities in particular are affected because they have low income, as well as other barriers enabling them to access serviced land.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015