15 June 2012

Namibia: Swakop Residents Cry Foul Over Land Deal

Swakopmund — Some residents of Swakopmund are demanding an audience with the Swakopmund Town Council, which they accuse of "selling" their land.

Residents accuse the Municipality of Swakopmund of selling off plots that apparently belong or were promised to them some 11 years ago. New houses have already been constructed on the land in dispute and residents have threatened to move into these newly constructed houses.

The outraged residents accuse the town council of delinquency and unfair practices, thereby denying them the right to become proud homeowners.

A concerned resident, Eveline Kavendji, said council apparently earmarked the plots for sale to the Swakopmund community "some years back".

"We were indeed excited as we were awarded the opportunity to improve our living conditions and those of our families," Kavendji said.

Residents were instructed to fill in forms and wait for council's approval, they claim. Those whose applications were approved allegedly paid connection fees for water and electricity, while others were instructed to wait.

"Total shock and disbelief hit the community when they found fully built houses on their plots. We called upon council numerous times to explain the sudden change of ownership to us.

"Up to now, no response and credible answers were given. We were never notified of any changes made by council nor did we give permission to any other members of the community to build on our plots," reads their petition.

Residents indicated that they are indeed fed up and feel "robbed" by the council.

"Eleven years is more than sufficient for the council to sort out the situation. Some of us will be pensioners soon. Perhaps, council will provide each of us a room in their lovely homes," said the residents.

Approached for comment, the Chief Executive Officer of the Swakopmund Municipality, Ekchard Damasius, said the municipality could not respond, since no petition was officially handed over to the municipality, nor were there any signatures of the aggrieved residents attached to a letter that the municipal authorities appeared to have received.

"As a matter of fact, the letter was not received by any councillor, since the right procedures were not followed at all," he told New Era.

The aggrieved residents claim that they handed over a petition during their protest march on Tuesday.

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