Katima Municipality seeks High Court order against land grabbers

20 May 2015 17:50pm
KATIMA MULILO, 20 MAY (NAMPA) - The Katima Mulilo Town Council is lodging an urgent application with the Windhoek High Court to block over 1 000 people from illegally occupying municipal land.
On Wednesday, Katima Mulilo Mayor Charles Matengu confirmed to Nampa that the council has requested its legal representatives to seek urgent court interdicts which will effect an end to ongoing land grabbing at the Macaravan East informal settlement and Mahohoma.
Matengu explained there will be two types of interdicts, one of which will be an order that will prohibit any person from unlawfully invading or occupying vacant, serviced or non-serviced municipal land. The other order is to remove those who have already erected structures within a specified period.
“Our compliance officer is busy drafting the list of illegal land occupants so that it can be sent to the lawyers, who will then take it to the High Court for the interdict to be granted as a matter of urgency,” he said.
Matengu indicated that the whole process might take between five days and two weeks.
“As soon as the interdict is issued, this whole land-grabbing nonsense should stop. If anyone is found illegally clearing land or putting up a shack or brick house on municipal land, we will take them to task,” he said.
Matengu’s warning comes after large groups of people disrupted a meeting at Macaravan East on Sunday afternoon, demanding they be given free land to build houses. They threatened to illegally occupy municipal land if the council does not adhere to their plights.
Initially, the meeting at the informal settlement was to discuss the relocation of about 200 Macaravan East residents to Chotto Extension 7, which has already been surveyed and serviced.
Matengu said the illegal land invaders made it difficult for him to explain why they should not grab municipal land. He said part of the area has been sold to a private developer who will build affordable houses for resale.
“I pleaded for their patience but they did not want to listen. I explained to them that municipal land cannot be occupied in such a greedy manner, as the process for one to buy a plot is an exercise that takes time,” the mayor said.
He added that a contractor has been identified to start paving gravel roads at Chotto Extension 7, where plots will then be properly allocated to relocated residents of Macaravan East.
“When we have finished relocating the Macaravan East residents, we will relocate people from the old Katima Base and Wenela Farm to the same particular area. When work starts in the area, Namibian Police officers will be present to see to it that no land invaders try to grab plots for themselves,” Matengu warned.