CHAOS erupted in Okahandja where landless people attempted to illegally occupy land that belongs to the municipality.
Residents of Okahandja took the recent announcement by the government that people should be offered land in order to better practice social distancing while the COVID-19 pandemic is raging literally and started to stake out yards where they intend to build new informal housing.
The chaos erupted when a group of people that supports the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) were informed by the party president that they will be allowed to occupy a certain portion of land. The people who had permission from the LPM.
Other residents of the informal settlement saw the people staking out pieces of land for their new houses and followed suit. The ever-growing number of people soon had a large portion of land staked out which caused the local authority to call in the help of the Namibian Police.
An official of the Okahandja municipality, Linus //Garoeb said the land that the land grabbers targeted belongs to the local authority and was illegally occupied. //Garoeb said that the help of the Namibian Police was called in to remove the illegal land grabbers.
An angry resident said they applied for a piece of land where the grabbing was going in 2008 and again in 2012. She said despite promises the land was eventually availed to property developers.
“They were forcing me and my mother to move away from the place we were occupying. The police removed us from the land at gunpoint,” the resident said.
Despite having documentation that they were promised the land they claimed police still harassed the land grabbers in order to get them to move.
Okahandja Regional Constituency Councillor Steve Biko Boois confirmed the desperation of the community and said that they have been demanding land for a long time.
Deputy Commissioner Moses Khairabeb said they are not allowing any resident to occupy land without proper documentation and they are camping at the place where the residents are demanding to put their illegal shacks.
A representative of the LPM and the President of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), Mac Henry Venaani, intervened and engaged with the angry land grabbers in order to bring order to the chaos.