A group currently residing at an informal squatter camp in Windhoek's Freedom Square is requesting the government relocates them.

There are currently 26 shacks accommodating about 64 people; however, they are overcrowded, forcing some of the inhabitants to sleep out in open spaces, even during the harsh winter.

There are 14 vulnerable children here who do not get social income grants because of a lack of national documents.

Teresia Gaweses has lived here for 6 years and lives hand to mouth by selling recyclables to scrap yards.

Gaweses is requesting that they be relocated as the place is now full of sewage, which has caused lung infections among many of them.

"There are also children living here, and the conditions are not so good. There is no water or toilets. We get our water from houses nearby sometimes. We lost jobs; that's why we are here. We need help. We need a place with water."

Petrus Shivolo, who has resided in this area for 19 years, says they are in dire need of ablution facilities and clean water.

"We don't get any assistance from our councillors. We don't even see any officials coming to see our conditions. We don't have many resources here. There are children here, and they don't have any national documents. Not even food. We have nothing; only if we sell scrap or wood do we get something. We only survive by mostly eating from dustbins."

Another resident at the camp, Benson Mutate, says that "The sewage is giving us infections, and the children are getting sick because of the cold conditions. We eat from the trash cans. Our people lost their jobs because of the COVID pandemic. That's why more people came to settle here, and now the place is overcrowded. The government must at least give us tents."

The councillor of the Katutura Central Constituency, Rodman Katjaimo, when asked about this dilemma, responded by saying he cannot tackle this problem alone as housing remains a national issue

"The housing issue is a national issue, and we need an intervention from the central government because more than 250,000 people in Windhoek are living in informal settlements, and adequate housing is a basic human right, so we need the central government to help us out."

Katjaimo added that he donated blankets to this particular group last year.



Maria Kaalushu