SAUYEMWA, 17 SEP (NAMPA) -
The Rundu Town Council has evicted visually impaired people who allegedly illegally occupied a plot sold to a well-known local developer, Otja Trading Enterprises for the construction of business complexes.
Johannes Kachana, who is one of the about 90 visually impaired people facing eviction told Nampa in an interview on Wednesday, the town council called a meeting on 11 September 2015 where they were informed that the land they occupy has been sold to a developer. They were instructed to move.
The 6 700 square metre piece of land which was sold to the owner of Otja Trading, Andreas Romanus, stretches from close to the recently built Total Service Station in Sauyemwa up to close to the Elia Neromba Secondary School.
"What is really saddening, especially for us who are visually impaired, is the timeframe we were given to relocate, which is from 11 to 30 September. That is not enough time to move," a distraught Kachana said.
He said the town council has also not suggested an alternative place for them to relocate to. "We were just told to see where we could move to," he complained.
Kachana told this news agency he relocated from Nkurenkuru this year to be close to the centre for the visually impaired, which is situated just a few metres from where he put up his corrugated iron structure. He also teaches at the centre. Kachana says he used to stay at the centre but because it accommodates so many people who are visually impaired, both male and female, he decided to move with his family for privacy reasons.
As the land is situated close to Rundu's town centre, it was also easy for them to navigate their way into town, and he said finding a new route from wherever they settle next would be cumbersome.
In response, the Mayor of Rundu, Hilka Leevi said at a media briefing here on Thursday, the town council just wants people to move from the space they have occupied illegally. She said land was availed for the construction of the centre for the visually impaired.
"When they applied, they wanted to lease from the town council. When they were given the plot, they were requested to pay N.dollars 120 per year, which they also did not pay," she said.
As a council, Leevi said, it too has the social responsibility of caring for people with disabilities who live in the town and this is why the land was given to them at a heavily reduced rate.
Two months ago, representatives of the centre however asked the town council if the plot could be registered in their names as they fear eviction. Leevi said this is not possible due to the size of the group, but added that a request would be forwarded to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development for the plot to be donated to the centre for visually impaired people in Rundu.
Attempts to contact the ministry proved futile at the time of filing this story.