WALVIS BAY – A young woman from the Topnaar community finds herself in a precarious predicament after she was served with a notice to vacate a rental property that belongs to the Walvis Bay municipality and which has been occupied by her family since 1986. In the meantime, the property has been allocated to someone else by the municipality’s housing committee based on its alienation.
An emotional Katrina Ngaisivue told New Era this week she has nowhere else to go as she is about to lose her only home, a place she has been sharing with two mentally challenged cousins, an uncle, her little sister and her own child.
Narrating her ordeal, she said a letter dated 18 August gave her 30 days to vacate so that the person who happens to be living in a shack on the same premises can occupy the house.
She has been living at the house since 2008 as she was schooling in the south and could only visit during holidays.
Ngaisivue said the house was first allocated to her grandparents Willem and Maria Meyer as a rental property in 1986.
The couple was brought by a Catholic priest, now deceased, from the Walvis Bay dumpsite along with several other Topnaars to occupy the houses in the area.
“Both my grandparents did not have biological children, but the couple raised the daughter of Maria’s sister. The informally adopted daughter named Christina is the mother of the two mentally challenged cousins currently under my care and guardianship. My mother and uncle Filus Ngaisivue are biological siblings of Christina,” she explained.
She further explained that her uncle was in the process of taking over the ownership of the house when he died in 2016. She then took it upon herself to approach the municipality to continue with the process on behalf of the family. She is currently employed at Hangana Seafood as a factory worker for about four years.
According to Ngaisivue, she approached the housing and property manager of the Walvis Bay municipality Jack Manale to be advised on how to go about the home ownership change. She was apparently told to provide proof of how she is related to the late Filus Ngaisivue.
“Based on that and advice from him, I moved into the house in 2017 and have been living there, but prior to that I just lived in a shack on the same property. In addition they requested that I, like my uncle, also get a letter from the Topnaar Traditional Authority to confirm my relationship to my uncle and grandparents. This all should be on their files as we struggled for years to get ownership of the house. It shouldn’t have come to this if they had not prolonged the process with my uncle,” an emotional Ngaisivue said on Tuesday.
She said she is yet to understand on what grounds she does not qualify for a house that was in the family for years and why her uncle was considered in the first place. “They should consider my two cousins whose mother was raised by the Meyers before anyone else if they don’t consider me,” she said.
Meanwhile, Manale yesterday confirmed the property in dispute was completed during 1986 and allocated to the Meyer couple from the Topnaar community.
“Initially they were allocated house number 1043 but in 1992 they exchanged it with number 1034. The grandfather passed on some years ago and his wife Maria Meyer continued to reside at the house until her death on 12 August 2010. The property was only used as a leasehold by them. Therefore, the ownership of the house was still with the municipality,” Manale said.
He added that the backyard tenants moved into the house as occupants after the surviving spouse died in 2010.
According to Manale, Filus Ngaisivue enquired on the status of the property and argued that the late Maria Meyer was his grandmother and was requested to prove his relationship with the late, and the Topnaar Traditional Authority has indeed confirmed that he was a relative of late Willem and Maria Meyer.
“Ngaisivue (Filus) passed on while we were in the process of alienating the house to him as per the council’s alienation scheme. Currently the house is occupied by Katrina Ngaisivue and Indileni Mwafingange. Both of them are now claiming the house. Ngaisivue argued that she is the relative of the Meyer couple and uncle Ngaisivue. Also Mwafingange was the sitting tenant and now occupies the house,” he said.
Manale further explained that they requested Ngaisivue to prove her relationship to the Meyer couple as well, like in the case of her uncle. “However, Ngaisivue is not the biological child of the Meyers or their son Filus Ngaisivue. Therefore, the housing committee considered the matter as per the alienation scheme and allocated the house to Mwafingange,” he said yesterday.
He, however, told New Era that Ngaisivue has the right to object to the decision made by the council’s housing committee and should draft the objection letter and submit it with supporting documents.