Okahandja municipality has approached the Windhoek High Court to evict people currently occupying municipal land “illegally” in the areas of Eekunde Proper, Eekunde Extension 5, Veddersdal Extensions 1, 2 and 3 and Five Rand Extension 3 and 4.
According to a press statement issued by the local authority, it succeeded in obtaining a substituted service court order through an urgent application giving all the people occupying land in the affected areas three days after the court order is announced on NBC Radio and/or upon circulation through other means to give notice at the registrar of the High Court of their intention to oppose the court order or face eviction.
According to an affidavit filed by Erastus Uutoni, the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, the reason they approached the High Court for an order of substituted service is that the “land grabbers” are too many and unknown to the applicants.
“The respondents are many and we do not have their names, some of them have erected dwelling structures on the occupied land in order to just preserve that portion of land that they have identified and occupied, some of them do not stay at the structures that were erected. They stay elsewhere and we do not know exactly where they stay, but they are in Okahandja,” the minister said.
He went on to say the main reason they approached the court for an order to be served by way of substituted service is that the respondents have been very elusive when staff members of the Okahandja municipality tried to obtain their names and particulars and blatantly refused to provide such information.
According to Uutoni, when the unlawful land occupation started, the land occupiers were constructing most of their structures on the municipal land during the night and during the day they would not be at those structures making it extremely difficult if not impossible to get hold of them.
The municipality wants the court to issue an order directing the people to demolish or remove any structure they erected on the affected land and further to remove anything, “rubble or garbage” that is on the land within 14 days of the court order.
They are further asking for an order directing the people to vacate the land in question within 14 days from the granting of the court order and in the event that they do not adhere to the eviction order, then the deputy sheriff of Okahandja is authorised to – with the help of the Namibian Police if necessary – evict any and all persons still found occupying the land.
They are further asking the court to grant the deputy sheriff authority to demolish, remove and dispose of any structure or goods that may be found on the land.
They are also asking for an order interdicting any person from occupying the land without permission after the order for eviction is granted.
According to the interim order granted by Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Collins Parker, any of the respondents who wish to oppose the application should lodge their intention to defend together with their full particulars to the registrar and the legal representatives of the municipality.
They must also file their answering affidavit by not later than 4 September.
The municipality is also asking for costs in the event anyone opposes the application.
The urgent application will be heard on 7 September.
The municipality is represented by Advocate Dennis Khama instructed by Neliswa Tjahikika from the Office of the Government Attorney.