Joy filled the air as over 300 residents from Mariental’s informal settlements were recently awarded certificates of occupancy, but some of the residents are questioning the gesture from the local authority.
Residents who were given the certificates of occupancy are from the Takarania, Donkerhoek and Ombili informal settlements.
The recipients said although the initiative from the Mariental municipality is commendable, there is still some confusion over how the process will be handled as they have been renting the erven from the municipality all these years.
“It was a very sudden story. We were informed that the erven needed to be handed over, so we really don’t know whether we are given the erven for free or not. We were paying rent at municipality every month, but now I really don’t know whether we are still going to pay rent, or they are going to withdraw that agreement. They did not even inform us about the way forward during our last meeting,” stressed Ella Adams.
According to Catherine Boois, the acting spokesperson at the Mariental municipality, the erven were made available to the residents on a subsidized price because they could not afford to purchase erven at the standard price.
She said that the lease payment for the erven was only required for residents who wanted municipal services such as water and electricity, connected to their households.
“This certificate is only a formal acknowledgement from the side of the council to recognize that this piece of land belongs to the specific person, it is just an interim arrangement before the implementation of the flexible land tenure system while we are negotiating with the ministry of land in order to finish the process so that the people can get the title deeds for their erven,” she said.
The group was relocated by the Mariental municipality to the respective areas in 2006 after they illegally grabbed land in an unserviced area now known as “Ou Takarania” to areas which were fully serviced.
“My family was part of the people who were moved from “Ou Takarania” and we have been staying in this area for many years. We are happy that the erven will finally be registered in our names,” said a resident of Takarania who seemed optimistic about the allocation by the municipality.
Another resident from Takarania, Marianna Bock reiterated her neighbour’s sentiments stating that she is very grateful that they were given the erven and that she can at least build a boundary wall around her house.
“I am very happy, now I can build a wall around my house because currently it is unsafe for me and my children. I am really grateful for what the Mariental municipality is doing for us,” said Bock, who moved to the area five years ago.
Johanna Nodima, who moved to Mariental in 1991 and has been staying in Donkerhoek for 18 years, said that it has always been his dream to own land.
“I am very thankful that I have been chosen to get an erf, even though I don’t have money to build a brick house now, at least I got an erf and I will make a plan,” she said.
The certificates of occupancy were handed over to the residents by Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni, Hardap governor Salomon April, mayor of Mariental Josef Mensah and chairperson of the Hardap regional council Edward Wambo.
2020-11-09 07:15:46 | 26 days ago