New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Dom Lokasie Residents in Limbo Over Plots

Windhoek — Residents of Okahandja's Oshetu Number three (also known as Dom Lokasie) informal settlement say they have been waiting to be allocated erven since 2009, but the municipality pulls the wool over their eyes, while accepting deposits from homeless people for non-existing plots.

Homeless people squatting close to the refuse dump say their health is also at risk because of the smoke coming from the dumpsite.

They say their lives are characterised by too many hardships, since they have to walk close to 500 metres daily to collect water because all the taps in their area are broken and the municipality makes no effort to repair or replace them.

There is also no electricity in the area even though the residents have on many occasions requested municipal authorities to look into the possibility of providing them with electricity.

They say the absence of electricity makes them vulnerable to crime, as well as poisonous snakes that frequently enter their homesteads.

Else Rooinasie says she was evicted from the Nau-Aib location with her family in 2009, and showed a receipt indicating that she paid N$700 to someone by the name of Magreth of 'Penduka We Rise' to get an erf at Oshetu location in 2001.

She claimed that when she went to inquire about the erf, she was told by the organisation 'Penduka We Rise', which assists those with low incomes to get housing, that they had no record of her payment and that she had to pay another N$500 to a certain Sarah in 2009.

But, she says, until now, she has been squatting on someone else's erf since nothing has come of her many queries.

Another resident, Salonika Oxurus, said the smell that comes from the dump affects residents, but the municipality apparently makes no attempt to clean up the refuse site.

"We are close to 150 people who are jobless here and the municipality can hire us to clean the site," she said.

Maria Ndara, an elderly resident said they are tired of talking since the municipality has turned a deaf ear to their pleas. She added that even requesting the municipality to haul sand to where they live will cost N$100.

Elfriede Rooinasie, Else's daughter, showed a receipt of N$400 for payment she made on an erf in 2010 to 'Saam Staan', another organisation that also assists those with low incomes to get housing.

Monica Nowases said she also deposited N$500 to 'Saam Staan' in 2010, but is yet to get an erf.

When approached for comment, a certain Sarah at 'Penduka We Rise' claimed that they accepted no money from those looking for erven although the receipts showed that the residents in fact paid the organisation.

She claimed that the residents paid the money directly to the municipality. When this reporter probed deeper into the issue, she got angry and slammed down the phone.

Town clerk of the municipality, Phillip Endjala, said those living in informal settlements cannot be allocated erven yet, at least not until the areas are formalised.

He said he did not know anyone depositing money for erven to the municipality since there was no such thing as allocating erven. He referred this reporter to the former acting CEO, Ripanda Meroro, but he could not be reached.

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