About 30 people were left homeless in Windhoek yesterday after they were apparently evicted from their home of more than 30 years. The evictees were staying in a complex on Kinshasa Street, Wanaheda, when they were served with eviction notices in April this year. They are part of 300 residents who received the eviction orders in April.
However, they did not move out until yesterday, when officers from the deputy sheriff’s office came to remove them by force, dumping their belongings in the nearby open area.
According to the evictees, they have lived in the house and paid water and electricity bills since 1987, after they were moved from the Old Compound in Katutura before independence.
Residents of various compounds in Windhoek’s Wanaheda were adamant they will not move out of the houses with supposed collective ownership status despite having received eviction orders from the apparent new owners.
The councillor of the Samora Machel constituency, Nestor Kalola’s efforts of pleading with the government to urgently intervene in the situation proved futile.
Kalola told New Era that he is concerned that the owners evicted the families in the middle of winter.
“I do not know what to do. People are out in the cold, including eight children,” he said.
He further added that his office will try to source a tent to accommodate those people temporarily, especially the children, because it is too cold for them to sleep outside.
The properties were built to accommodate residents of the former compounds in Wanaheda and are supposed to have a collective ownership status.
“I have informed the chairperson of the regional council about the situation and I am hoping for positive answers. This is very bad, I don’t know what to do, these people are too many to sleep in an open situation like that,” he added.
The councillor said the evictions are being done by those who have secretly transferred the compounds into their names without the knowledge of the other members.
Kalola said there are 130 compounds in Wanaheda that were accommodating more than 600 people but close to 200 people have already been evicted, as the compounds have been sold to new owners.
About 65 dwellers received eviction orders, while more than 300 are also facing eviction. The constituency councillor said he is frustrated by the situation of people being served with eviction orders of properties that are not supposed to have individual ownership, saying the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) is responsible for the mess because they transferred public units into individuals’ names.
“In April, more than 65 people at three compounds were served with eviction orders to go in the street,” Kalola told New Era.
“I have to run around to convince the messenger of the court not to evict people. This is frustrating, and certain officials within the NHE are the ones responsible for this mess. People are too many to be evicted; they have nowhere to go, and it creates a burden for us, as leaders.”
He said the NHE’s former CEO Vinson Hailulu repeatedly gave a moratorium prohibiting any transfer of those properties to private individuals. However, most of the compounds have been successfully transferred secretively.
“Most of the compounds here are transferred already into the names of those who were appointed to be responsible to collect money and pay for the properties and rates and taxes. Now, the family members are the ones causing a commotion by evicting other people who are related to the first occupants that were responsible for collectively paying for the properties,” he fumed.
He said Hailulu gave a moratorium in 2005, repeated it in 2008 and lastly in 2011, saying the occupants at the compounds should not comply with an eviction order presented by anyone, as those compounds do not belong to individuals.
An effort to get comments from the housing minister proved futile as his mobile phone went to voicemail.