22 January 2013

Namibia: A Stinky Situation At Greenwell Matongo

BAD blood and infighting between the Twahangana Group members and the Windhoek municipality have resulted in the demolition of communal toilets in the Greenwell Matongo settlement of Windhoek.

Members of the group have described the settlement as a "time bomb waiting to explode" as frustrated residents of the settlement have allegedly threatened violence.

According to Mateus Cornelius, who forms part of a different faction of Twahangana, some members did not want the municipality to service the land as they wanted to do it themselves and build their own toilets at their shacks.

Cornelius said this situation had been dragging on for more than a decade.

Cornelius say they had broached the subject with the president in 2010 but he never responded.

He said the group leader, Anna Iyambo, has allegedly offered that members buy toilet parts from her instead of waiting on the municipality to construct toilets for the group.

Iyambo has also been accused of having "dictatorial and corrupt management", allegedly laying claim to land the association has purchased.

According to a press release from the group, "in 2001 Twahangana bought a piece of land (Erf 3219) with two blocks of toilets. The land is situated between Eveline and Lucio streets at Greenwell Matongo. This piece of land was sold to the purchaser as is and it was already occupied by so many non-members of Twahangana Self Help Group."

The statement further reads that in terms of the deed of sale, "the purchaser shall be liable for payment of the basic tariffs for sanitation services, water, electricity and refuse services." Furthermore, it stated that the purchaser and its sharing members would undertake the construction of five more communal toilet blocks for its members within one year from the date of sale.

The purchaser was unable to fulfill the above terms, which led to the municipality constructing three blocks of communal toilets at the cost of the purchaser.

However, the non-payment for toilet and water services led to the group requesting pre-paid water systems.

"The land is demarcated into 250 plots for its 250 members but at the same time it is infested with non-members which the municipality failed to evict at the time of the sale of the land," the statement reads.

The group then allegedly evicted non-members, including a city councillor.

Following these events, the sewer line, clean water and electricity were approved in June 2010 which led to the group deciding to demolish the communal toilets.

"This was because communal toilets were posing administrative difficulties to the group and created a very unhygienic environment and mostly non-members privatised these communal toilets," says the statement.

It was then decided that individuals would build their own toilets at their own cost or as a group.

The municipality, which was approached for comment on Friday, declined to respond on Monday after questions were sent to the office of its internal communications officer, Scheifert Shigwedha.

"The City will release a formal response on the matter," he said.

Anna Iyambo, the group leader of Twahangana, could not be reached for comment as her phone was switched off.

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