A 77 year old Windhoek resident, Joel Araeb, and his family of 11 are currently facing eviction from their home in Otjomuise’s informal settlement, after he was tricked to sign over erf 32359 to Desmond Howard, a business man.
The family was served with an eviction notice last week as the house they live in was allegedly built by Howard for Fistorine Garises and that she had to make payments over a period of 20 years.
The house currently stands on erf belonging to Araeb, which he applied for with the City of Windhoek through his daughter.
“Because of my age I was told to get a younger person to assists me if I was granted an Erf. So my granddaughter approached her previous employer to assist us. He then came to me and said that my daughter is a very hard working person and that he needed to assist us. And he said that he will build a house for us on the Erf which was in my name and I agreed. Before we went to the municipality he made us sign some papers and explained to me that it was just an agreement that he was going to construct a house for my granddaughter on the erf,” Araeb narrated to The Villager.
He added that after they signed the papers in 2011 he stopped hearing from Howard and that the following communication was an eviction notice served through his granddaughter.
“We went to the municipal offices when we got the letter and I was told that the erf was still in my name but the officials there said that I should go to the land ministry for more clarity. I went there only to find out the erf was registered at the ministry in Howard’s name. I do not know how this is possible. I am just an old man and who will help a poor old man in situations like these. I do not know what to do now,” he fumed.
However, Garises said that her previous employer only had intentions of helping them out and since was employed by him.
“As my employer I thought he was just trying to help us out and all these years we have been living in this house after it was constructed, we never heard anything from him until recently when we were served with an eviction letter that is addressed to me. I do not know why he is doing such a painful thing to us. He could have been honest if he wanted to buy the house for himself. He made us sign some papers at the municipality in the presence of his wife. And he explained that it was only to prove that he would be assisting us construct a house,” Garises said.
She added that there is no other place they can call home.
When contacted for a comment, Howard confirmed that there was an agreement signed between him and Garises.
“I never tricked any one of them. They signed a contract with me four or five years ago. I built the house on the agreement that she pays me back over 20 years. She vanished for over a year and a half and I had to go look for her. She got sick and I agreed with her that she can stay in the house until she is well and can pay again but she vanished. There is nothing I can do about it. They will be evicted,” he said.