Walvis Bay landless residents threaten to take 'drastic actions'

21 Apr 2016 15:30pm
WALVIS BAY, 21 APR (NAMPA - Walvis Bay residents have threatened drastic actions against the Municipality of Walvis Bay if no temporary land is given to them in due course.
One of the residents, Kasie Andemale Shikongo expressed his frustration at a community meeting addressed by DTA of Namibia’s national chairperson and Member of Parliament (MP), Jennifer Van den Heever at Walvis Bay on Tuesday.
He is one of the about 100 residents of Tutaleni settlement who participated in the illegal mass land occupation early this month that led to a police eviction.
Shikongo said he has been holding meetings with the municipality over past three weeks on the land issue but to no avail.
“One day we asked to meet them (councillors) and they were not ready so we told them we will occupy the municipality and only then they agreed to meet. I have also written a letter to Urban and Rural Development Minister Sophia Shaningwa that we want land,” he told Van den Heever.
Shikongo, who said the group now calls themselves Twaloloka (we are tired), complained that they are tired of paying rent to property owners on which they construct their shacks, saying the monthly shack rent in Walvis Bay ranges between N.dollars 1 000 and 1 900.
With support from majority of the about 50 meeting attendees, Shikongo said it makes no sense for them to pay as much while they tend not to have electicity or access to proper ablution facilities.
“The rent for backyard shacks must only be N.dollars 400 a month, more than that is too expensive. Because some people who renting are not allowed access to toilets and electricity,' he said.
An agitated Shikongo said as a result, some residents resort to using plastic bags during the night and walk to the dunes during the day to answer the call of nature.
He noted that landowners get rid of the tenants after they had made enough money to expand their property.
“They tell us to remove our shacks from their yards because they want to construct proper flats.”
Supporting Shikongo, Mlemba Nanghama said people have been applying for land for a very long time and when politicians are queried about why land allocation takes decades, they do not answer.
“Some people applied through Build Together, Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia and the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) but they got nothing from all these,” Nanghama told the MP.
He noted that sometimes, politicians think the waiting list for land applications or housing is too long but it could be because the same people applied through all channels.
Van Den Heever concurred with the gentlemen on how unacceptable it is for some people to use plastic bags and surrounding dunes as their toilets but cautioned them to stay away from violence against the town authority.
“Let us do things within the legal limits. I do not encourage violence so please find a better way of making your voice heard,” said the DTA MP.
Approached for comment on Thursday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Walvis Bay Muronga Haingura said those who perform illegal actions will be dealt with.
“The law enforcement agency will act on anyone who break the law. The fact of the matter is we are trying hard to make things better for everyone but as I already said it is not easy,” the CEO told Nampa.
Not being able to confirm Shikongo’s attempts to converse with the municipality, Haingura said the land available is limited and the waiting list which stands at about 10 000 is beyond the available 1 000 serviced erven.
“Obviously not everyone can be accommodated at this point in time.”
Haingura could not promise temporary land for the people. All he could say is that the municipality is hard at work to get land for everyone.