Tension brewing among Walvis landless

11 Dec 2016 18:00pm
WALVIS BAY, 11 DEC (NAMPA) – Tension is brewing between legally resettled landless residents of Walvis Bay and other landless Namibians who erected shacks without permission from the local authority.
The legal residents comprise 25 families who were resettled by the Walvis Bay Municipality on a plot next to the !Nara Primary School in Tutaleni in April this year after they were evicted from a plot opposite the same school the previous month.
Conflict started last month when other landless Namibians started erecting shacks.
Nehale LyaMpingana Abel, who was settled there legally, told Nampa they do not want new people settling on the piece of land as there is not enough space for new shacks.
He also alleged that some of them steal, drink and start fights.
“We do not want strangers who are coming to disturb the peace here. We will get rid of those who misbehave,” he said.
Abel also said some people erect structures but do not stay there.
Another legal settler, Joolokeni Johannes said they do not want to fight but the fights start when the newcomers misbehave or refuse to listen to advice.
On Wednesday, the 43-year-old Neumbo Lazarus told this news agency he has no option but to erect his shack illegally, despite the tension.
“Things are bad here, those who came here first do not want us. People steal things and fight over building materials.”
He said a man was hit with a hammer on the ribs in a fight on Monday when he was found erecting a shack illegally.
Lazarus said the man was not seriously injured, but he fears such fights could escalate.
“I am unemployed, I cannot afford to pay rent every month, pay electricity for N.dollars 250 and feed my family. That is why I came to make a place of my own here.”
Lazarus appealed to the more than 100 people living there to live in peace and accept that they have to live in overcrowded conditions.
Theofilus Kambonga, 44, said he settled illegally because he was evicted from a rented shack he could not pay after he lost his job as a security guard.
“We cannot get jobs because we are not educated. Our government must find ways to get us jobs instead of asking for qualifications,” said Kambonga, who dropped out of school in Grade Four.
Other illegal and legal inhabitants complain of long queues at the toilets, and their structures being too close to each other, which means a fire could spread quickly and burn down the whole settlement.
On Wednesday, municipality Chief Executive Officer Muronga Haingura said those who came illegally will be given a verbal notice to leave but if they refuse, they will be evicted.
He said the municipality is in the process of establishing a township at Farm 37 south of Walvis Bay near Dune 7, but it is not clear when the township will be finished or whether it will be able to accommodate all 35 000 landless residents in Walvis Bay. (NAMPA)
PKS/LI/AS/CT