Amushelelo’s housing plan won’t be approved till it meets requirements – City

Michael Amushelelo

The City of Windhoek says the proposed affordable housing development at Brakwater being steered by businessman/activist Michael Amushelelo will not take off until he complies with the requirements of the Water Resource Management Act and lays out a clear plan on how the sewer reticulation system will work.

Amushelelo has been collecting money from interested prospective homeowners for the past four years, but he has failed to get the project off the ground. Now many of the beneficiaries are opting for refunds, saying they feel “scammed”.

City of Windhoek spokesperson Lydia Amutenya says at this point there is still no indication of how or where the sewage from the planned houses will be discharged to ensure compliance with the requirements of the act.

“Unfortunately, and until the applicant can satisfactorily discharge all obligations relating to the proposed township establishment, the project cannot be legally recommended for consideration to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development,” Amutenya says.

Establishing a new township in Namibia entails a rather lengthy and intricate legal procedure governed by the Urban and Regional Planning Act (5 of 2018), with the township being legally proclaimed in the Government Gazette.

The act requires township establishment proposals to meet specific conditions aimed at addressing complex legal, economic, social and environmental considerations.

One of these requirements specifically relating to ensuring environmental sustainability is the provision of adequate engineering services, which includes a sewerage system.

Lydia Amutenya

Amushelelo’s housing scheme, called Property Group Save Namibia, aims to build 150 affordable houses for middle-income earners on unserviced plots. It is run by Amushelelo and his business partner Gregory Cloete.

To address the lack of a basic sewer system, Amushelelo asked the municipality if the project could make use of the Ujams Wastewater Treatment Plant near the proposed development.

However, the municipality rejected this request.

“Ujams is a specialised wastewater treatment plant designed to treat industrial sewage and not domestic sewage, hence we cannot accommodate that request,” Amutenya says.

Amutenya further says an application for the project was first submitted in July 2022 and was sent back to address the required technical issues. It was resubmitted in July 2023, however, the sewage issue was still not addressed.

The issues were communicated to the developer on 22 November 2023, and they are fully aware of what is required in terms of bulk and service provision,” Amutenya says.

Amushelelo says building a sewerage facility from scratch at the development is costly and requires them to buy additional land.

“We are still going to go ahead. We will just have to buy the additional land at inflated prices if the City doesn’t allow us to make use of Ujams,” Amushelelo says.

He says the option to buy additional land will be a challenge as they are dealing with hostile neighbours in the area.

“Due to the hostility of our neighbours, it is not viable. Most of the neighbours have been hostile against this project, claiming that we are bringing Katutura to Brakwater and that crime and noise will be the order of the day,” Amushelelo says.

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