8 September 2017

Namibia: Groot Aub Families Left Homeless

EIGHT families at Groot Aub have been left stranded after they were evicted from their homes yesterday by the owner of the plot they have been staying on.

Some of the people who were evicted claim to have been thrown off land on which they have been living for up to nine years, that they were forcefully removed from the makeshift structures they had put up on the land, and that their possessions were thrown out on the street.

The evictions were carried out after an eviction order, informing the affected Groot Aub residents that they were illegally staying on land not belonging to them, was delivered to the occupants about a month ago.

The land on which the occupants were staying belongs to one Gerald Williams, whose father had apparently bought the property - about six hectares in size - more than 50 years ago.

A brother of the owner, Les Williams, said they had been fighting with the occupants for more than four years to get them off the land, but they have not been receiving any cooperation.

One of the evicted people, Aletta Groenewaldt, is a 63-year-old pensioner who came home to find all her belongings outside the yard. Her son and grandchild have been living with her until their eviction.

Groenewaldt said a committee member of the Groot Aub Village Council had given the portion of land to her, and she had been staying there peacefully for about nine years, until yesterday.

Another of the evicted residents, Joey Snyders, is disabled and has been living with five other people. Snyders said they bought their portion of land from a certain Annete Dirkse about six years back.

Dirkse, however, was reportedly jailed two years ago over the illegal sale of land at Groot Aub.

Les Williams said Dirkse sold land which did not belong to her.

"The moratorium from 2003 also stated that all land sales were frozen within the Groot Aub area," Williams said.

Most of the people evicted yesterday said they did not have anywhere else to stay, and expected that they might have had to sleep in the open next to their belongings last night.

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