WALVIS BAY - Walvis Bay councillors have made a U-turn on the eviction of illegal occupants that are currently living on eight municipal erven in Kuisebmond.
The eight erven are part of the 79 council initially wanted to sell to first-time buyers through a public auction, following a recommendation to auction off residential erven at the town.
Twenty erven, including the eight, are illegally occupied and 49 in town were expected to be auctioned by the council.
However, Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes on Friday during a media conference said they will not be evicting anyone from any of the council’s erven at this stage. He said part of the recommendation made was omitted from the council’s agenda, hence the confusion. “We have even withheld a few of council’s plots in Kuisebmond and Narraville to develop low-cost housing to help address the housing and land challenge,” Forbes said.
He added the council is not here to make people’s lives difficult and that enforcing evictions at this stage does not make sense.
“Council is not here to make people’s lives difficult. Yes, they occupy land illegally, but where will they go if we evict them?” Forbes asked.
Forbes further explained that although they do not allow illegal land occupation, they also do not want to create chaos. He added that they recently had to ask a private developer, who wanted to evict 40 people from his land to stop the process, so that council can find an alternative for the people.
“There is simply no land and what is available is in the hands of private developers, hence farm 37 is really an alternative. However, we want to consult and convince private developers to buy land there for business purposes so that basic services such as shops and other necessities are accessible if we relocate our residents,” he said.
Council in their last meeting recommended the erven be sold to persons who are previously disadvantaged or indigenous Namibian citizens who were denied and deprived of opportunities to own land due to government policies in existence before the independence of Namibia and the re-integration of Walvis Bay. “An affidavit will be required to verify that the bidder does not own any residential property in Namibia. Erven not sold during the first bidding to first-time buyers will be made available to the public during the second bidding, according to council recommendations.”