06 Oct 2017 19:40pm
KATIMA MULILO, 06 OCT (NAMPA) - The Katima Mulilo Town Council has vowed to continue demolishing illegal structures despite objections to the exercise that started last week and has left many families homeless.
Speaking to the media at Katima Mulilo on Friday, the towns mayor Georginah Mwiya-Simataa said the council is not anti-poor and is only carrying out its mandate, which is to provide serviced land and other amenities at a cost.
She said with people illegally occupying land, it has become difficult for the town council to carry out this mandate.
The mayor explained that around 2014 and 2015, the council discovered that people were settling in various parts of the town without permission. This resulted in protracted negotiations with the illegal land occupants to voluntarily stop erecting structures, but such efforts proved futile and people continued to build houses.
Mwiya-Simataa said the council entered into a public-private partnership for the servicing of land and construction of low cost houses in these areas, but this exercise was met with opposition from illegal occupants blocking all council efforts to provide needed services.
Council engaged members of the community from June this year to August in the various areas, encouraging committees to register people. The mayor said all these efforts failed, resulting in council opening a case against the illegal occupants with the police in July.
In August, the town council resolved to notify all illegal occupants to vacate the land voluntarily and remove all illegal structures. As required by law, 14-day notices of eviction were issued.
Last Thursday the council, with the assistance of the Namibian Police Force, started demolishing illegal structures erected on municipal land.
During the demolishing of structures, some land grabbers got violent, forcing the police to fire several warning shots. Several people were reportedly injured.