Police evict & threaten arrest landless in Walvis

29 Mar 2016 17:00pm
WALVIS BAY, 29 MAR (NAMPA) - Police officers were called in on Tuesday to evict people who illegally occupied a plot opposite !Nara Primary School in Walvis Bay’s Tutaleni settlement.
The more than 25 shacks, each occupied by at least three unemployed adults and children, were last year December erected by the landless citizens.
The land belongs to the Ministry of Works and Transport.
The ministry’s chief works inspector in Walvis Bay, Raymond Peterson Tuesday said the land is earmarked for construction of the Tutaleni Police Station. He said the construction of the building was supposed to start in February this year but was delayed because of the illegal settlers.
One of the police officers was heard telling the land grabbers they will be arrested if they refuse to move.
“You are here illegally so if you do not move we will use force,” the police officer said.
One of the illegal settlers was 21-year-old Itenga Tjiumbua, who came from Opuwo in the Kunene Region to look for employment in Walvis Bay.
“I do not have anywhere to go. I have a small baby, as you can see she is even in the hot sun. You can arrest me if you want,” the unemployed Tjiumbua told the officer when he parked the police van close to her shack.
Festus Lukata, 55, was seen removing his belongings from his shack.
He is a single and unemployed father who takes care of three children.
“We do not know where to go. We will have to sleep on the street. They told us to move and I hope they know where to take us,” he said.
Muningadu Mburura, who is in his late 40s, was pleading with the police to give him and other residents an extension of three or four days while they speak to the municipality and the police regional commander to see if they can be given land to settle on.
“Where do we go to now? Our belongings are on the street. We are also Namibians; we cannot settle in the sky and we need land. There are ladies with small kids here, please have mercy,” Mburura said.
Peterson said the illegal settlers had violated an eviction notice served to them on 22 March 2016. This was after a verbal warning for them to move on 22 February this year.
“We gave them enough time to move. We did all we could but they did not move, and unfortunately today, they have to be forcefully moved,” he told Nampa.
Peterson advised them to go to the Walvis Bay Rural Constituency office to make arrangements for land, as that is the correct office to assist them.
Walvis Bay Mayor Immanuel Wilfred said he knows about the issue but shifted the responsibility to the rural constituency office.
“What has the constituency office done to intervene? It has to start there. If the councillor is willing to speak to us about the matter, we are ready to discuss it. So we are just waiting,” said the mayor.
The land illegally occupied is situated behind the rural constituency office.
On his part, John Nangolo, the councillor for Walvis Bay Rural Constituency said he already spoke to some residents who formed a committee with the aim to deal with the issue.
“We are aware of the problem. I will speak to the municipality so that we can see how we can assist them. It is unfortunate that they have to be thrown out today, ” said Nangolo.
Erongo Regional Police Commander Commissioner Andreas Nelumbu said the police will not be tolerating negotiations, as they are only executing the court order.
He said the land does not belong to the police, but to Government.
“If they refuse to move they will be arrested. We are here to enforce the law and there are no two ways about it,” Nelumbu said.
Several of the illegal settlers told this news agency earlier this month they were staying in the backyards of their families and friends, while others had to break down their shacks and move because their landlords wanted to build proper flats, which they could not afford.
(NAMPA)
PKS/AS/LI