Lüderitz housing crisis looms as demand surges

With the already-high demand for housing by Lüderitz residents, the influx of people from outside is putting a strain on housing provision at the town.

The town is currently enjoying attention from potential investors from all over the world, making it attractive for people who are looking for business opportunities and jobs and because of this, there has been an increase in demand for housing.

However, lack of adequate and affordable housing has raised concerns among many.

There are currently an estimated number of five to six thousand people on the existing housing waiting list.

The Namibian approached one of the residents that have been on the waiting list for over ten years.

The resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, says they applied for land almost 10 years ago and still have not received approval.

“There is nothing wrong with my application, I just feel that the council is approving people on the basis of familiarity – if they know your face you get approved,” the resident says.

Lüderitz Town Council chief executive Otto Shipanga denies these allegations.

“It is not a correct, it’s pure allegation, unless these individuals can provide evidential proof towards the allegations,” he says.

“We strictly adhere to the laid down principles as outlined under the applicable legislation, regulations, ministerial directives and internal policies or guidelines,” Shipanga says.

According to Shipanga, the council expects the need for accommodation to become even more critical over the next few years because of the expected developments.

However, he says “the input cost for servicing land is very high in Lüderitz”.

Shipanga says the housing challenge can be considered an opportunity for potential developers in property development sectors, especially considering the town is becoming an epicentre for economic activities of national importance.

“As a council, we believe partnership with potential developers is essential, hence we have established direct dialogue with the central government and potential developers in order to facilitate and fast track the land and housing issues,” he says.

Shipanga says 500 erven were allocated to a development consortium to service and develop residential properties in 2023.

“Council has similarly allocated land to private developers with the aim of constructing high density apartments to cater to the demand, considering the land scarcity,” he says.

An incomer, who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Namibian that they have been searching for a two-bedroom flat since December last year, but have found nothing.

“I have to now stay with my family in a cramped house, because I cannot find a house to live in,” they said.

The resident says Lüderitz has a Facebook page called ‘Lüderitzbucht Flat/House to rent’ that allows individuals to look for houses or flats and for renters to advertise available accommodation.

“On this specific page, you will see at least two people looking for housing on a daily basis, with no responses mostly. This is concerning” the resident says.

Lüderitz mayor Phil Balhao says the lack of financial support from central government, state-owned enterprises and providers of low-cost housing, in accordance to the affordability of most residents, has meant the waiting list continues to grow.

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