Former Katwitwi residents bemoan relocation

21 Dec 2017 09:10am
HELAO NAFIDI, 21 DEC (NAMPA) – Former residents of Katwitwi informal settlement of the Helao Nafidi Town’s Oshikango suburb are accusing the town council of relocating them to a place without provision for water, electricity and toilets.
Following the council’s order for residents who had 'illegally' occupied Katwitwi to vacate it voluntarily earlier this month (December), the residents have since been relocated to the Oshikango’s extension one and seven.
Katwitwi is now without structures and some six plots are formerly to be handed over to rightful owners to develop Katwitwi into a formal business centre, said the Helao Nafidi Town Mayor, Eliaser Nghipangelwa, in a telephonic interview with Nampa on Wednesday.
“We have peacefully and successfully relocated about 500 people from an illegal informal settlement (of Katwitwi) to a new area which they now legally occupy,” Nghipangelwa stated.
He added that his council is currently busy to find the area where Katwitwi’s former residents, who could not be given plots thus far, would be relocated.
Some of the relocated residents that Nampa spoke to at Oshikango on Tuesday have, however, denied that their relocation from Katwitwi to extension one and seven was peaceful.
“It was not peaceful at all. We dismantled our sacks and shebeens after the council threatened us with message to our mobile phones that our structure would be demolished on 06 December if we happened not to remove them on our own,” one of the residents claimed.
They charged their relocation was carried out under threats from the part of the council. “They brought us here where we have no toilets, water and electricity, the same way the colonial regime forced black people to vacate Pionierspark for Katutura in Windhoek,” argued another former Katwitwi residents.
However, Nghipangelwa said messages sent to residents' phones were simply explaining what actions were going to be taken during the relocation process, and nobody was threatened or forced to take up a plot at the relocation sites.
According to him, residents have been relocated to a formalised area, where they are expected to provide water, toilets and electricity to their houses on their own costs, unlike at Katwitwi where the council provided water, electricity and some toilets to those they had authorised to do business there.
This was not well receive by the residents, who argued it is the council’s responsibility to ensure that the relocation areas are provided with the basic services before relocation.
Nghipangelwa says relocation to extension one to seven is just an offer and not a privilege for residents, as they illegally used Katwitwi as a residential area.
“They don’t deserve such relocation. We [are] supposed to tell them to leave Katwitwi without an offer, if the council was not kind,” he narrated.