Hundreds grab land in Goreangab

July 13, 2015, 7:21am

Hundreds grab land in Goreangab

THE Goreangab area on the outskirts of Windhoek was the scene of chaos yesterday when more than 300 people attempted to grab public land.
At least a hundred police officers, including members of the Windhoek City Police, were deployed to the area to maintain order as desperate residents, some still wearing pajamas, arrived as early as 05h00 with shovels, rakes and axes to grab and clear plots.
About 25 members of the Special Field Force were also deployed to the area.
Police deputy inspector general James Tjivikua's order to the crowd to vacate the area was greeted with defiance as the chanting crowd refused to move. 
“Go and find Shaduka (Lazarus) first and then you can come here!” a woman yelled at the police. 
Police were initially asked to escort the crowd to a healthy distance and then were ordered to “push them peacefully” when the people stood their ground. 
Goreangab resident Ndeapo Sylvanus (24) said she was awakened by news that people were grabbing land near her makeshift home and decided to join them. 
“If others are doing it, why not me?” Sylvanus asked, as she cleared a piece of land she had marked off.
Ngurimuje Kahepako (32), a resident of Greenwell Matongo, said he was tired of the hypocrisy by municipalities about following procedures in applying for land while certain individuals are exempted.
“While we follow procedures, others are getting land and houses and the rest of us are being left behind, so we are simply here to take land by force,” he said. 
Tjirazupo Mbaeva (27), a security guard, said he was tired of renting from other people. 
“Everyday we hear One Namibia, One Nation, but we are suffering. The rent, electricity and water rates are going up but our salaries remain stagnant. The President we elected is doing nothing for us.
“If we must die, then let us die but we are tired of having nowhere to sleep,” he said.
Ivonne Kandovazu, who was carrying her baby while attempting to grab land, said their applications for land were piling-up at the municipality. 
“I applied for land long back in 1999, and I'm still waiting,” she said.
Tjivikua told the crowd that they were overstepping the boundaries by taking land illegally. 
“The land that you want to occupy does not belong to you or given to you lawfully. It is illegal and the law will take its course,” Tjivkua told them. 
Despite police managing to successfully get them to vacate the area, some land grabbers vowed to return. “We will return, even if we have to sleep here,” said Samuel Linkse. 
Police spokesperson Slogan Matheus said a group of people also gathered at Walvis Bay on Saturday and at Tsumeb yesterday to discuss the land issue but no violence was reported at both meetings.
The land grab comes ahead of the 31 July deadline given to municipalities by the Affirmative Repositioning movement to make land available to the landless multitude. 
“I just want to make sure that when 31 July comes, I already have my piece of land to claim,” said Sylvanus. 
Job Amupanda, who leads the AR, yesterday described the incident on social media as “just a missed call” compared to what might transpire at the end of this month. 
Amupanda could not be reached for comment on his mobile phone.

The Namibian