SHELLEYGAN PETERSEN and SAKEUS IIKELA
THE Windhoek municipality plans to spend more than N$9 million to beef up surveillance and reinforce its city police department with more vehicles and guns during the current financial year.
About N$1 million of this budget has been earmarked to buy the Windhoek City Police 9mm pistols.
The municipality plans to use N$4 million to procure vehicles for its police department.
The total capital budget approved for the Windhoek City Police amounts to N$9 million.
This includes another budget of N$4 million to be spent on the various projects to improve the city’s law-enforcement technology, call centre, and closed-circuit television (CCTV) rooms.
This was revealed in the municipality’s capital budget document, which was approved by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development earlier this month.
The move to beef up surveillance in the capital comes at a time when incidents of illegal land invasion are on the rise, particularly at Otjomuise’s Agstelaan and Babylon settlements.
The Windhoek municipality has at times relied on the Namibian Police to restore order at various informal settlements following illegal land invasion incidents.
The total capital budget for the municipality amounts to N$506,7 million, which is largely funded by revenue from land sales and grants.
The document revealed that the biggest portion of the municipality’s capital budget, or N$195 million, would be spent on electrifying the informal settlements.
The City also plans to spend N$29,4 million on the construction of civil and electrical services.
LAND AND HOUSING
Another priority area stated in the document is the provision of land, and various projects to upgrade the capital’s informal settlements.
The municipality plans to spend N$165 million on this.
This includes N$55 million towards the Informal Settlement Upgrading Affordable Housing Pilot Project (ISUHPP), through which the municipality is partnering with other stakeholders, such as the National Housing Enterprise and the urban and rural development ministry, to construct affordable houses for beneficiaries in informal settlements.
This project, which was launched last year, has already delivered about 130 houses, while 54 houses currently under construction are expected to be completed by the end of the month.
Executive director of urban and rural development Nghidinwa Daniel in a letter to Windhoek’s acting chief executive officer George Mayumbelo said the ministry will contribute N$39 million to the project this year.
“[This] should only be used for the purpose for which the allocation has been made, and the municipal council is cautioned not to overcommit the government by ensuring that the project to be undertaken is strictly within this limit after any existing outstanding invoices from the previous financial year have been settled,” Daniel warned.
Another N$30 million is set aside for the upgrading of other areas, including Greenwell informal settlement.
Other projects, such as the ongoing land servicing at Goreangab Extension 4 and the other initiatives at Okahandja Park received N$13 million and N$6 million respectively.
The City plans to spend a further N$22 million on a “council housing construction programme”, and N$10 million on property acquisition.
The plan to reintegrate the Groot Aub informal settlement into the city will be funded through a N$2 million grant this year to be spent on the construction of various services at the settlement.
The municipality will further spend N$1,5 million on a City of Windhoek healthcare facility.
Daniel in the letter advised the City to only budget for goods and services needed to perform their duties, and to provide specific descriptions on an item level.
Furthermore, the municipality plans to spend N$17 million on communication network infrastructure.
This comes after the municipal council last year was granted a class comprehensive telecommunications service licence by the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (Cran).
The particular licence has not been warmly welcomed by mobile network operators such as Paratus Telecommunications and the Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC).
However, Cran justified the issuing of the licence, saying it is warranted – especially in respect of services such as smart metering and public Wi-Fi.
They also earmarked N$3 million for desktop and data-centre infrastructure.
The municipality plans to spend N$1,8 million on unspecified projects in informal settlements as well as an additional N$2,3 million for a project at Mixed informal settlement.
The project at Mix settlement, Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Solution (Dewats) is aimed at improving sanitation in peri-urban informal settlements in Windhoek.
The city will also spend N$1,8 million on the upgrading of sewers in Katutura.