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Archie Benjamin. Prime Focus
Tsumeb Municipality’s CEO, Archie Benjamin, provides informal settlement Kuvukiland’s 7,000 residents with electricity. Pic credit: Prime Focus

Last week, Tsumeb Municipality’s CEO, Archie Benjamin confirmed that the municipality’s fastest growing informal settlement Kuvukiland has partly received electricity.

Earlier this year, residents at the shantytown raised concern over the increase in crime as criminals took advantage of unlit streets to attack and assault people at night, reported New Era Namibia.

Progress as first sections receive light

Although not every household has electricity those that have received are very pleased and are elated to have their homes electrified.

Benjamin confirmed that progress has commenced: “Kuvukiland has received electricity – the first part has already received electricity and about 350 households now have power.”

Kuvukiland resident Josephine Neises expressed happiness at finally having access to electricity even though her home has not been connected: “At least it’s a step towards making life better. I am so happy – during the night when I went to the toilet it was very unsafe as it was dark.”

Benjamin could not say when exactly the remaining parts of the settlement would receive electricity. However, he did confirm that the piece of land on which the shantytown is located initially belonged to Weatherly Mine, and the mine has now handed over the land to the municipality.

Infrastructure development for shantytown

Benjamin assured residents that existing access roads would be improved to allow vehicles to move through the settlement in the quest to curb crime as most criminals use the settlement as a hideout where they seek refuge after committing their criminal acts.

The municipality has also installed and evenly distributed about seven standpipes in Kuvukiland which people use to get water. It is believed that all water points are in a good working order and adequate although long queues are observed during peak times.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) the rate of rural electrification is steadily rising and particularly in the sourthern African region. The World Energy Outlook survey issued in 2014 noted the rural electrification rate at 26% as at 2012.

Growth of informal settlements

In a report released by the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia profiling informal settlements in Namibia, it found that up to 25% of Namibia’s 2.1 million people live in informal housing.

The Kuvukiland area started to attract people in April 2009 who were unable to pay rent in nearby overcrowded Soweto. In November 2009 the municipality started allocating plots to some of the residents.

This attracted more people to the area and today Kuvukiland has grown to 7,000 people according to a survey conducted in November 2014 by the Tsumeb Municipality.