- Breaking news: A severe drought countrywide has prompted President Pohamba to declare a state of emergency.
City sticks too shack demolition
Illegal settlers in the Goreangab Dam informal settlement yesterday staged a violent protest against the Windhoek municipality’s decision to demolish their shacks.
The settlers became unruly towards the driver of the front-end loader who demolished their illegal shacks in the area yesterday morning. Residents stood in front of the loader as it was about to destroy a shack that belongs to a businessman while some residents hurled insults at police officers.
A back window of the loader was shattered in the process by stone-throwing residents.
But the City continued with its campaign that started in Okahandja Park on May 23, to bulldoze illegal shacks occupying municipal land. The materials of the shacks will be confiscated by City Police and owners will be fined N$500 each when they want them back. Yesterday, municipal staff destroyed half-built and un-occupied shacks.
Squatters in this area started occupying the area last year September and there are over 70 shacks with new ones being built daily.
The Swapo Party Coordinator of Samora Machel, Fanuel Shivute, 64, climbed on the front-end loader demanding the driver stop dismantling the shacks while some people demanded he climb of the loader.
“I am hurt that shacks are being destroyed. I know they are illegal but were these people informed about the demolition. I don’t think these settlers are given time to prepare themselves. This is not right. Where will people go stay during this cold season,” asked Shivute, who said he was sympathising with the people.
Shivute said the population is growing and there is a need for land. He said because of the long waiting list at the municipality, people have to wait for years to get land.
“Where do you want us to go if you don’t want us to settle on this land and we cannot build our shack in the sky either,” asked a middle-aged man.
This piece of land has also become home to settlers who moved from the Okahandja Park area whose shacks where demolished last month.
The police also confiscated illegal electricity cables.
“I came here the same day my shack was demolished in Okahandja Park,” said Rebeus Shipena.
A businessman believed to have several businesses around Windhoek was used as an example by the police because he dismantles his own shack instead of it being demolished.
A day before the commotion, a woman from the area was arrested for theft under false pretences after she sold erven to people in need of land. The woman was arrested on Tuesday after the illegal settlers wanted to know why they are asked to remove their structures although they have paid for them. Namibian Sun learnt that the land was sold for prices ranging from N$600 to N$800.
Samora Machel Constituency Councillor Abasai Angula was present when the shacks where demolished and he said he against the demolition and called for an alternative solution to the issue.
“We cannot destroy people’s properties. We are one nation and we should come together and find a solution,” he said.
However, he said people should follow proper procedures when they want land and said there is a need for people to be educated on how to acquire land and the consequences of contravening the laws.
Senior Superintended of the City Police and Emergency Management Department, Gerry Shikesho, said that for the past two weeks residents have been told to remove their shacks. He said that, according to a council resolution, the land is earmarked for a school.
“We are only prepared to negotiate one thing and that’s when people remove the structures themselves,” he said. He added that he does not want any political interference when they carry out their duties.
He said some structures are built in areas where it is difficult for them to render emergency services.
Meanwhile, the demolition of the shacks continues today.