Zambezi Regional Council says the removal of 125 tents from residents at Nova in October this year was due to a lack of control from Katima Mulilo Town Council in 2020.
The Nova community is situated near the Nova Military Base, a few kilometres out of Katima Mulilo.
They were relocated from the Cowboy location in 2019 to make way for the construction of a school – and were to use the tents for a period of six months only.
Residents were then supposed to construct their shelters on the land.
The location is also home to homeless people, who pleaded to the council for shelter, as they could not afford to erect temporary structures.
Regional council spokesperson Damien Siambango told New Era recently they have since the beginning of this year started retrieving tents of Nova residents, who have managed to construct other temporary structures but decided to take back tents en masse when it appeared there was no control by the local authority.
“There was illegal redistribution of tents taking place between the residents of the Nova resettlement,” he said, adding that because of that, they have requested the Katima Mulilo Town Council numerous times to return the tents but to no avail.
“The residents of the Nova resettlement only wanted to take advantage of the tents without any authority,” added Siambango.
“All complainants are new and illegal beneficiaries; hence, they do not form part of the initial approval of the 125 residents from Cowboy to Nova location,” he said.
However, Nova residents claimed the regional office had collected the tents without any notice, as communication was only done to those who had zinc structures.
Siambango denied this, saying the regional office gave notice to the Nova committee about the collection of tents from the occupants.
According to residents at Nova, who asked for their names to be withheld for fear of retribution, the council did not consider the fact that most people who live there have no temporal structures – and upon removal of the tents, their scant belongings were left out in the open.
Most resorted to constructing their homes from garbage bags to prevent sunburn, and keep them dry during the expected rains. Calls made to the Katima Mulilo town council regarding the issue at hand went unanswered for two weeks.