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‘Everyone is illegal here’… Oshakati residents fear shack demolitions

2021-09-09  Nuusita Ashipala

‘Everyone is illegal here’… Oshakati residents fear shack demolitions

Residents of Oshikango in the Uupindi informal settlement have accused the Oshakati Town Council of leaving them destitute when their shacks were demolished this
week. The angry community members said they feared their shacks will be demolished, as they do not have title deeds.

Some of those whose shacks have been demolished claim they have lived on their property for more than 10 years. They charge they do not know what criteria are used to demolish their shacks. “No one in this location has an erf number. Basically, everyone is illegal here but where should we go? 

This is the only home we know,” said Simon Hangula who has been living at his residence for 18 years.

On Tuesday, council demolished four shacks.

The town council’s spokesperson Katarina Kamari has refuted the claims, saying they have not demolished any old shack.

Kamari said council only removed illegal shacks.

She said the council has set up a local development committee in each of the town’s informal settlements, to oversee the operations in those areas, including the erection of illegal shacks.

Kamari said the council has registered all old shacks in the area, however, some of the people already have land while some have sold the land, which was allocated to them. She said council is planning and surveying the area and will not tolerate the erection of any illegal structures. 

Kamari said the council, as part of its strategic plan, has a daunting task to ensure that all its informal settlements are formalised, people have access to all municipal services and also have title deeds.

“The shacks which were demolished are illegal. But we sympathise with those that do not have land and we urge them to visit our offices,” said Kamari.

She said the council will charge owners of illegal shacks N$3 600 so that they can get their corrugated iron sheets back.

Eva Natanael whose shack was demolished said she has been at the property for the last three years.

“I have followed all due processes. I have registered my name with the village headman as they requested,” Natanael said.

Natanael said all the residents at Oshikango were asked to register themselves with the village headman, but Kamari said all registrations are done with the council. Another resident, who was asked to relocate, has vowed not to move.

Foibe Haupindi said she has been living at Oshikango for 15 years.

“I have children, where do they want me to go?” she asked. The angry residents said the town council should allocate plots where they are currently residing.

They charged that they are residents of Oshakati who have moved from their parents’ homes because they have grown up and have children of their own, hence cannot continue to live with their parents anymore.

They suggested to council to find an alternative location to take the people whose shacks they are demolishing.

2021-09-09  Nuusita Ashipala

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