Rundu residents continue to develop on illegal land

11 Jun 2014 09:40am
TUHINGIRENI, 11 JUN (NAMPA) - Residents of the Tuhingireni informal settlement on the outskirts of Rundu say they will continue to develop their area, despite a town council order directing them to vacate it.
In July last year, the town council notified residents that they were occupying a portion of land on the Rundu town’s farmland number 1329 without its authorisation.
Two weeks ago, the Rundu Town Council again ordered the 150 residents settled in the Tuhingireni area along the Trans-Caprivi Highway to stop erecting permanent structures.
Rundu Town Council Public Relations’ Officer Benjamin Makayi said earlier that the council has earmarked the said land for other developments, and those who settled there never received permission from the council to do so.
He thus cautioned residents who want to erect structures anywhere within the boundaries of the town without getting permission from the council to refrain from such practices as it is tantamount to illegal settling, and is punishable by law.
That remark sparked an outcry from the affected residents, who convened a meeting last Sunday to discuss the matter.
Some residents settled at Tuhingireni have developed permanent structures such as housing, while others are fencing-off areas for possible future developments.
The residents and the town council have been at loggerheads over the issue, and the council has even taken the affected residents to the High Court. That hearing is set down for April next year.
The affected group’s chairperson Mathew Wakudumo, who also owns a piece of land at Tuhingireni where he intends to set up a filing station and hospitality businesses, told Nampa on Wednesday that the affected residents resolved in their meeting that they would not move.
Wakudumo claimed that they obtained the unserviced land procedurally from the Village Development Committee (VDC).
“We are not going to move out of the area. We will continue to develop our areas, and if they want us to pay, they must tell us so and we will do it.
Even if we get a verdict from the High Court, we will appeal it,” the disgruntled group’s spokesperson said.
He confirmed that the council had taken them to court, and that the affected residents have now opened an account to raise funds for their expected legal costs.
Some of the affected residents argued that they previously had mahangu fields on the same land.
The disputed land is not serviced, with no basic services such as water, electricity and sewerage.
Included in the group are prominent people, including medical doctors.