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The destitute at Keetmanshoop want residential land

2018-10-03  Matheus Hamutenya

The destitute at Keetmanshoop want residential land

KEETMANSHOOP – As leaders from all over the country gather for the 2nd National Land Conference in an effort to find solutions to the land question, the only thing some wish for is being able to own a little piece of land they could call their own after this indaba.

The land conference was officially opened by President Hage Geingob on Monday, and while ancestral land rights and restitution, resettlement criteria, land expropriation and urban land reform are some of the topics featuring prominently at the  land conference, many urban dwellers without land just want the conference to ensure urban land is affordable.

Abraham Goliath, 52, is one of those concerned about and patiently awaiting the decisions to ensure that unemployed and low-income earners also have access to land, saying having even a small piece of residential land with his wife and children is his only wish.

Goliath, who lives in Keetmanshoop reception area near Ileni, has been without work for a few years now and lives with his wife and four children, and he says although his wife is a domestic worker, the income she brings in is barely enough to sustain the family, much less to buy an erf at the current exorbitant market prices that are beyond the reach of many landless Namibians.

“We were dumped here by a tipper truck by the municipality in 2012, with the promise that we will only stay here for three months and get our own erf, but we never got anything, and we are here without water, and no toilets, there is nothing going on here,” he said.

Goliath is thus hopeful that the land conference will bring about positive results, so that people like him are also able to easily get land in urban areas, saying just because he is unemployed does not mean he does not deserve land.
“I am unable to work due to health reasons, but that should not mean I cannot get land, I need even a small plot where I can live with my children, they deserve a place to call their own,” he said.

Mej Skeyer, 40, shared similar sentiments, saying people who are not privileged are denied access to land due to the affordability, and she is of the opinion that government would have corrected this had government officials and leaders visited informal settlements to see how people live in squalid conditions without basic services. 

She is however hopeful the land conference will bring solutions to these issues, so that even the poorest of the poor are able to have land for their families.

“Our leaders must come and see how we live – we do not have plots of our own, give us land, even how little it may be, but let me have my plot that I can be able to call mine and be able to fence off,” she said.

A mother of five, and expecting another child, Skeyer said while she has managed to build a shack for herself, the living conditions are not favourable especially for her small children, adding that the area is too small and they are overcrowded.
Others who New Era spoke to also expressed similar views saying it is their wish that land will become accessible and cheap for the majority and that people in informal settlements will be the focus so that they get their own erven.


2018-10-03  Matheus Hamutenya

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