The capital’s population currently stands at 495 000 residents.
This is according to a strategic environmental assessment done by Excel Dynamic Solutions, in partnership with Stubenrauch Planning Consultants.
“Population growth is largely driven by in-migration. This will place strain on resources and infrastructure, specifically bulk infrastructure (water, sanitation, and electricity), and services (healthcare, education, and policing),” the assessment has found.
According to the report, the projected population boom would result in a 50% increase in water consumption.
“Water and energy security represent key challenges, together with the provision of housing and basic services, for a growing number of low-income households,” the report states.
Approximately 30% of Windhoek’s population, or 148 500 people, currently reside in shacks.
To create more space for the growing population, recommendations have been made for residential erf sizes to be reduced from 300m2 to 200m2, and multi-storey and mixed-use buildings to be used.
According to the report, the most suitable area for future expansion towards the north is along the Windhoek-Okahandja Development Corridor.
Meanwhile, economic growth between 2012 and 2032 is expected to be 5% to 6% higher, with a 7% to 8% higher employment rate in the city.
The assessment, commissioned by the City of Windhoek, seeks to identify the potential cumulative impacts of current and planned future development trends on the environmental integrity of the municipality for the period from 2020 to 2030, and its ability to achieve sustainable development.
Community activist Rinaani Musutua says the Windhoek municipality has completely failed at providing its current residents with decent services.
“When the population increases, there is no chance they will be able to handle service delivery pressure. I predict a catastrophe of more shacks, a lack of water as Namibia is prone to drought, and less electrification of the informal settlements,” she says.
Musutua says the City of Windhoek is operating on an overdraft, and while it does not have enough money for decent service delivery, its top officials continue to be among the highest paid in the country.
“That just adds to the city’s financial woes. On top of that, there is a lot of theft and wasteful spending. The City of Windhoek is bad at planning. No one is held accountable in their working environment,” she says.
Musutua says the municipality should consider lower-level service delivery suggestions instead of taking a top-down approach.
Social justice activist and labour researcher Herbert Jauch shares Musutua’s sentiments, adding there is already a huge backlog in terms of housing and sanitation, as well as education and healthcare facilities in the city.
Jauch says the migration towards urban centres has been a trend for many years.
“This should mean that city planners plan and implement accordingly, but this is still not happening with the City of Windhoek operating on a bank overdraft and spending a large chunk of its resources on its own administration and councillors. A far greater focus on service delivery is required,” he says.
He says shortcomings in terms of service delivery should not only be the municipality’s responsibility, but also that of the various ministries.
“Going forward, the city would need to rethink its town planning, as it is unsustainable to just locate new residents further and further away from the city centre and places of work,” Jauch says.
City of Windhoek spokesperson Harold Akwenye says the municipality works on an annual basis regarding town planning and the delivery of basic services.
“We are going to have a detailed information session where we will discuss all our long-term projects for service delivery,” he says.