ONGWEDIVA - An elderly couple from Onawa settlement has accused the Oshakati Town Council of trying to remove them from their homestead to a flood-prone area.
Ndove Heita (88) and his wife Teofilia Shikongo (98) built their homestead in Onawa settlement in 1968 and in 2014 town council officials visited the homestead to evaluate and purchase the land.
Heita and his wife were compensated for the land but said the officials did not say anything about relocating them and family members.
According to their grandson, Johannes Nghiloto, the council wants them to vacate their home and relocate to a riverbed.
“They want us to relocate into a flood prone area but ironically, according to them they are moving people from certain areas to here because of the flood. Why are they trying to disrespect us like that?” asked Nghiloto.
The family is also complaining that the town council handed them official papers with no signature, stamp or the town council’s letterhead.
“Something is definitely not adding up. Something smells fishy. Why do our neighbours and the people who recently moved have official papers with signatures and stamps while ours do not?” asked one family member.
In 2021 town council officials visited the homestead and allegedly ordered the grandchildren who had been gifted plots by the couple to relocate to the main homestead and remove anything they had built on the land.
“When my cousin realised that the papers we got were not signed, he went to the Ombudsman and was told that we were supposed to get official papers from the ministry of land reform, ministry of finance and a paper from the town council indicating proof of payment,” said Nghiloto.
“We do not provide details or information to third parties. Everything we do is confidential and thus cannot be revealed,” said complaints investigator Lameck Nauta of the Ombudsman’s office.
“I feel bad that they want to re-allocate us and bring other people onto our land. They are telling us to move from our house. We did not even plough our fields this year,” said a distressed Shikongo.
According to Oshakati Town Council spokesperson, Katarina Kamari, when the town council moves in an area of development, they go house to house to notify the families that they want to purchase their land.
“We will not force someone to move out of their house into a flood area. We will fill up the area with sand and service it before we move them but we did not force them,” explained Kamari.
Kamari explained that in most cases after payments are done, family members tend to go to their office saying they were gifted plots on the land but failed to communicate this before payments were done.
If an individual wants this land back they have to recompensate the town council or else evacuate the given land.
“The family must come to our office to sign the official papers and just because your neighbour got an official paper from us does not mean you will get the same, the papers differ,” said Kamari.