John Muyamba RUNDU – Police in Rundu had to intervene to bring order as an angry mob, referring to themsleves as ‘landless residents’, attemped to grab land in the town on Saturday. The town mayor, Verna Sinimbo, had to make a quick getaway from the angry crowd while the Kavango East Regional Police Commander, Commissioner Johanna Ngondo, calmly talked the residents out of their plans to illegally take the land. “We need to maintain law and order in this town. I have to make sure that peace prevails, people need to sit and talk, I have calmed the group down and I told their committee that I will arrange another meeting with the mayor. We don’t want things to go wrong here, my officers didn’t touch anyone,” said Ngondo. In October last year the group attempted to grab land at the area known as the golf course and the police were called in to halt them with threats of arrest. That was followed by meetings with the council where the group claims it was given the hope of getting land, only to later be told that the plans would no longer materialise. They said this was the reason they planned to grab land. “Since last year we held various meetings with the council under the leadership of the mayor. They gave us forms to fill in which we did and we were later told those forms were printed wrong and they gave us other forms. So we restarted the process and there we were told that our names were going to be in the system and we will be informed on where the group will be allocated land, and that our plea was heard,” said group committee member Alex Muyambango. “Our last meeting with the council was last Wednesday. It was held because we gave them three days to give us a positive response so they decided to call us for a meeting and told us that they will not listen to our request as they have other individual residents on their waiting list for many years,” Muyambango said. The committee said many of them applied since 2003 but have not been allocated land, but people with money just go to the council and get large tracts of land, very big for individual persons but on which the landless residents would all fit. “We don’t know how many decades one needs to wait to be allocated land in this town. Some council officials and some well off residents have more than one plot – why should it be like that? We have followed procedures for years but there has been no progress, so we organised ourselves in this group,” said Muyambango. “They called the cops on us but if you look around the outskirts of the town many people have settled illegally, some with the help of council staff but they were not stopped – the council knows this issue,” said one of the land grabbers who refused to mention his name, saying their action was a group activity. “She [Sinimbo] told us that what we are doing here is nonsense and that she can’t change council policies and laws to please us, but she forgot that the seat she is sitting in at the council, those policies didn’t vote on that ballot paper, it was us residents who hoped for change. We are tired of renting in our home town, renting properties of foreigners and those that came with money to buy land in corrupt ways,” said Muyambango. The group gave the council another chance to make a plan about their plight, saying that in a few days they will erect their shacks at the site.
2018-07-23 09:07:03 2 months ago