Squatters to sue KHP Municipality for damaged properties

21 Jun 2013 08:00
KEETMANSHOOP, 21 JUN (NAMPA) - Fourteen residents of Keetmanshoop are planning to ask the town council to pay for damages to their properties, and threatened to file a lawsuit against the town authority should they refuse to pay.
In August last year, the local authority forcefully moved 30 residents? properties from an open area behind Tseiblaagte residential area which they illegally occupied, to the reception area in the Ileni settlement.
During the process some of their property, including corrugated iron sheets, mattresses, pots and clothes were allegedly damaged and some disappeared.
Speaking to Nampa on Thursday, group spokesperson, Simon Isaaks said when the municipality called them to collect their properties last week Thursday they discovered that some of it is damaged and others, lost.
As a result, the residents refused to take the items, returned to their houses and decided to demand compensation.
?We will ask them to pay for our items. Some of the items are not in the municipality warehouse where they told us they kept it. If they refuse to pay, we will sue them in a court of law. On top of that, we will demand they give us land because we still do not have land,? Isaaks charged.
He further said there are community members who are ready to give financial support to cover legal costs should the matter end up in court.
Isaaks further indicated the group will seek assistance from Keetmanshoop Urban Constituency Councillor Hilma Nikanor.
?The messenger of the court, Desmond Andreas, was also using vulgar language against the women at the warehouse when they complained about their items,? Isaaks said.
In response, acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Keetmanshoop Municipality Hermanus Losper said the council is not responsible for the security of such items, therefore they cannot ask to be reimbursed.
He said residents must ask Andreas, because he is the one dealing directly with the matter.
On his part, Andreas laughed off the issue, saying the residents are lying because all the impounded properties are at the warehouse.
He continued that he does not know about the properties of 14 people, because the items he took were only of two persons.
?There is only property for two people who asked us to take them to Berseba and Kainachas, but we refused,? he explained.
The court messenger also questioned how the residents could think of suing the municipality or him, because neither of them can be held responsible for lost or damaged impounded properties.
?We could have thrown those things away at the dumpsite, because they (squatters) were not supposed to be at the municipal plots without authorisation,? he said.
Andreas, however, said if the owners want to file a lawsuit they can go ahead because it is their right.
About the vulgar language he allegedly used, he denied insulting anyone, adding that, in fact, he was the one insulted.
?When I arrived at the warehouse I greeted them but only two ladies greeted me back, the rest were rude. They told me I will lose my job and die. There was one idiot taking pictures of me and threatening that I will die,? Andreas pointed out.