The Namibian (Windhoek)

8 February 2013

Namibia: UPM Impatient Over Non-Delivery of Free Erven At Rehoboth

TWENTY years after Cabinet decided to give free erven in Rehoboth to people displaced by the Apartheid dispensation, only 176 residents have benefited.

The Cabinet endorsed the Rukoro Report of 1992, which stipulated that 3 000 apartheid-displaced and 2 500 Rehoboth Baster 'burgers' should get free erven in the town.

The people who were in line for the free erven are now threatening to take action against the Rehoboth Town Council if it does not allocate the land before the end of this month.

Allocations of these plots were made for the first time in January 2009 when 176 erven were given to the residents, for which they had to pay a one-off N$500 free for municipal services, N$32,40 for a valuation certificate, and N$150 for the deeds office.

Those who say they ought to benefit from the free erven have met with United People's Movement (UPM) councillors and threatened that they would take a stand if the estimated 1 000 people still waiting to be allocated free erven are not given the land.

They said they would not support the idea of having to pay N$5 000 for the erven if those are not fully serviced, and that they would not pay for unserviced plots they feel they are entitled to.

They also vowed that they would not accept erven smaller than 360 square metres, and do not recognise the 'erven committee' appointed by the town council, which they said is "illegal" and only represented by Swapo Party members.

"The UPM regards the decision by the RTC [Rehoboth Town Council] to continue making use of the illegal committee as a violation of the rights of members of the Rehoboth Baster Gemeente [community]," UPM vice president Piet Junius said.

The UPM said it would have another meeting at Rehoboth on March 3 to further discuss the matter.

In the meantime, the party said the town council is turning a blind eye to "land grabs" in the town's Block E and Banhoff areas despite a council resolution that action would be taken against those who instigate the alleged land grabbing.

"People on a daily basis put up shacks without the council's consent but the RTC is mum on their action, probably because these people support Swapo," Junius said.

Town council CEO Theo Jankowski said he had expressly stated that he would only be able to give answers regarding these erven by this month.

However, he said 496 erven have so far been demarcated in Rehoboth East and Rehoboth West.

He further said that the erven committee was legally elected by the council, on which the UPM has two seats. This committee still has to meet to select those to benefit from the free erven.

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