Get out of the way … Over 200 Goreangab residents face eviction over road project
WINDHOEK – Over 208 residents of Goreangab in Katutura, mainly shack dwellers, face eviction by the Windhoek Municipality to pave way for a multi-million dual carriageway planned in the area.
Residents are up in arms over the development, saying they have not been allocated an alternative area to move to.
The dual road forms part of the allocated funds to the tune of N$50 million to the City of Windhoek during the 2019/2020 – 2021/2022 MTEF (Medium Term Expenditure Framework) for improving living conditions in the informal settlements by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.
The objective of the project is to improve the level of access to basic services such as potable water, toilets, roads and electricity within 10 months.
Most of the affected residents in Samora Machel Constituency are formally unemployed and derive their income from informal employment and small enterprises like shebeens.
Their protests follow a meeting convened on Saturday by the constituency councillor for Samora Machel, Fanuel Shivute, together with City of Windhoek officials, who informed them they should move their structures to pave way for the road construction.
In fact, upon investigation, New Era established that municipal officials have already started earmarking shacks for demolition.
Residents complained that the decision to remove them from what is their homes came as a surprise since they were not informed in advance.
City of Windhoek community development specialist Josephina Nambala on Saturday told affected residents they have been in consultation with the councillor’s office and community leaders about the project.
She said besides the dual road, there will also be another road that will run from Otjomuise to Ongos farm, 13 kilometres from Windhoek’s CBD.
“That is why you will see many houses being marked. It’s not because we want you to shift your houses. We want to do it right from the beginning,” said Nambala.
“At this moment we are not going to relocate anyone. At most public meetings, you heard, the City said there is no land for relocation. You ask for water, electricity and toilets, but these services can only be provided if there is space and then the area can be upgraded.”
“Making roads is one step forward to upgrading Samora Machel informal settlements. You cannot have electricity lines if you don’t have roads,” Nambala remarked.
She added that the affected residents have cleared municipal land and built their houses illegally, hence they should move to pave way for development.
But this remark angered residents, who vowed not to move unless they are given serviced land on which to rebuild their houses. They also feel the construction of roads can be put on hold, until such time the City finds them another place.
In response, Nambala said: “If you received that marking on your house, you are free to start moving your house of now. Identify any place you want to build your house, as long as you are outside the road.”
However, the residents demanded that the project be halted until the general elections in November, saying their livelihoods are at stake.
“You are causing chaos among people. Come up with a good strategy to move people. Normally, if a road comes, people are compensated for their structures. We have invested money in these structures. People come first before the road, why build a road where people live? We all need the project, but if it comes to make us poor, then what’s the need of the project?” said a resident.
The councillor tried to calm the angry crowd, telling them to cooperate and move their homes for the sake of development.
He said if people do not move, the allocated funds will return to Treasury if not used for its intended purposes.
Shivute promised to engage each and every affected resident to find an amicable solution to their looming eviction.
Nambala noted that the numbering of affected structures has not been completed, hence the City will continue.
Khomas regional governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua yesterday said she was not aware of the weekend’s meeting.
She however said there is a need for the City and the constituency office to find a solution, although she vowed that “moving must happen”.
2019-08-20 07:27:16 | 11 months ago