20 December 2012

Namibia: Evicted Family Refuses to Move

FOUR family members, who refused to vacate a house that was auctioned by the municipality over debt in 2007, were arrested on Saturday morning on charges of contempt of court and trespassing.

They were released later that day after the intervention of the deputy mayor of Windhoek, Muesee Kazapua.

Stella Hansen (37), Desney Hansen (32), Desmond Hansen (32) and Christian Hansen (26) claim that their house was sold irregularly by the municipality and that they were not informed of the sale. They have since refused to obey an eviction order.

The Hansens' house was sold on auction in March 2007 and they were issued an eviction notice.

Stella Hansen said their ordeal began after they refused to leave the house which they had called home for over three decades.

"We have lived here since birth with my late mother who passed way in 2009 and my three brothers now aged 32 and 26," she said.

On Saturday the police knocked on their door and "they told us they have come to arrest us because we were staying in a house that did not belong to us".

"They told us that we had been warned several times and told to vacate but we did not listen.

"They arrested me and my three brothers and took us to the Katutura police station from six in the morning and they released us at one in the afternoon."

In an attempt to force the family out of the house, the water supply was cut off in 2007 and they have been without water ever since.

"In April 2011 they came and threw out our belongings. It was raining and most of the goods were damaged," Hansen said.

The electricity was cut off last month. "I went to the municipality to inquire why the electricity was cut off and they said we owed money, so I paid N$3 420 for water and N$2 000 for electricity."

She now wants an explanation why why the house was put on auction.

"Nothing makes sense and now they want us to move out."

Contacted for comment, Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi of the police public relations department said the Hansens knew very well why they were arrested and should be honest about it.

According to him, the Hansen family failed to pay off their house and it was auctioned and sold in 2007.

"The same year, they were issued an eviction order which they refused to follow and still went back to the house," he said.

Kanguatjivi said they even appealed to the court that their house had been sold illegally, but the City of Windhoek won the case.

"They were arrested on Saturday as a result of contempt of court and illegal trespassing of property because the house now belongs to someone else who is paying for it," Kanguatjivi said.

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