A baby died when the mother gave birth in the street of Havana informal settlement as she was waiting for transport. The inaccessibility of the area due to the closure of the Monte Cristo road is blamed on the situation.
Furious residents gathered in big numbers at the Havana fourway stop, on the outskirts of Windhoek, to air their grievances and demanded that the road be opened until the contractor is prepared to start construction.
Access to Havana was affected when the expansion of Monte Christo road and the extension of Independence Avenue, leading to the Ongos Valley Phase 1 development as well as the Goreangab Waterfront mixed development area, started.
Josef Fernando, who led the protest, told New Era the terrifying and shocking incident of the baby occurred on 8 May 2022 when the heavily pregnant woman was on her way to the hospital. “When the road was open, we never experienced such incidents.
Now the poor lady was supposed to be rushed to the hospital but could not due to the blockage of the road. The transport [from home] dropped her there as it was not able to continue. She has been waiting for taxis for more than an hour until the time she gave birth. Taxis are no longer willing to come to the area as the road is in a bad condition and there is always a long queue at the fourway stop,” he explained.
He further said when the woman gave birth, she experienced difficulty and residents called the ambulance which also took a while to arrive. The baby was delivered with the assistance of residents and when the ambulance finally arrived, the baby was already dead.
City of Windhoek spokesperson Harold Akwenye said he is not aware of the incident.
“I am only hearing the incident now. My condolences to the family and parents of the child,” he said, before dismissing the allegations that the construction works are at standstill.
“We visited Ongos Valley two weeks ago. We reached Ongos via a detour which is marked. The constructors were busy working on the road and they are busy as we speak. Make time and visit the site yourself,” he said.
“We are here to air our disappointment. We do not want such incidents to happen again. We, as community members, stood up today not because we are against the development of our city but because our frustrations rise. This is because, after the closure of the road, we did not see any construction vehicle working here. So we continue to suffer at the hands of criminals and experience such incidences,” he said.
Another resident, Rauna Akser said they want the blockage to be removed and be put back once the construction is ready so that people have access to the road to avoid problems.
Akser said even if the lady could have contacted an ambulance before she reached the road, it would not have reached her on time to save her baby.
Ananias Nangombe explained that the criminals have now taken advantage of the situation and started robbing people at night when they are coming from work as there is no longer much movement to disturb them.
“We are no longer safe. Every day you will hear people screaming at night being terrorised and chased by criminals. In the past, it was better because if you knock off late, you take a taxi up to your house. Now you can’t as the road is blocked. People do not want to compromise their vehicles on the alternative road,” he said.
The group also said as winter is approaching, more shack fires are likely to happen and fire trucks will not be able to access the area.
The mother of the baby has now been taken to the north to recover after the burial.
The Moses //Garoeb constituency councillor Aili Venonya confirmed the incident of the mother who lost the baby on the side of the road adding she will take up the residents’ concerns.
“Of course, it is a sad reality but trust me I am your representative and I will channel your grievances to the relevant authorities,” she said.