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Only new illegal shacks will be demolished

Only new illegal shacks will be demolished

Marthina Mutanga
THE of City of Windhoek announced that it will not demolish older shacks erected in informal settlements but will only focus their attention on shacks built over the last week.
CoW spokesperson, Harold Akwenye, said the municipality cannot let people put up houses on land that does not carry the municipality’s approval. He said ramapant building is getting out of hand and the some steps have to be taken to mitigate the situation.
Brenden Swartbooi, 38, who have been living in a shack at 7de Laan for almost four years with seven other family members said that City Police have been warning them for years that they will have their shack demolished as it was illegally constructed on municipal land.
Swartbooi added that his family put up a shack has they have been applying for land for almost 11 years, but that they haven’t had much luck as CoW keeps telling them that there is a very long waiting list.
“City police is in the habit of demolishing shacks during winter. If they want to remove us they must provide us with alternative shelter,” he said.
A student who came from Katima Mulilo to study at the University of Namibia said he had no choice but to put up a shack because he can’t afford student accommodation or to rent in town.
“City police came here last month and interrogated us. They asked us to remove our houses but we don’t have any place else to go,” said the student.
The City of Windhoek said they will remain responsible for allocating land in an orderly and acceptable manner as mandated by the Local Authority Act, 23 of 1992 as amended.
Akwenye noted that in addition, the City has the mandate to safeguard its land to allow proper planning, servicing and eventual distribution. Therefore, any structure erected on municipal land must be done through the proper approval processes, and those structures erected illegally must be removed as per the prescribed laws.
“When our law enforcement agency encounters any incomplete and unoccupied houses they require the assistance of a contractor who can remove such structures,” said Akwenye.
He further noted that it should be noted that these structures refer to any unauthorised, incomplete and unoccupied structure that was erected on municipal land, and not targeting completed and occupied structures as some residents wants to imply.
“The so-called N$10 million tender and the use of a bulldozer to demolish illegal informal housing, as alleged by some residents does not hold any truth, and therefore it is strongly condemned.”
He said that in the final analysis it is imperative to note that the land which is illegally occupied tend to be more expensive to service.

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