Namibia: Minister Stops Keetmans Evictions

URBAN and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga intervened and saved tenants of the Keetmanshoop municipality's semi-detached houses from eviction last week.

The minister, in a letter dated 1 November, directed the council to shelve the eviction until further notice following a report in The Namibian that three families were to be booted out of the municipal houses which they are occupying.

Mushelenga said the ministry will launch an investigation into the eviction issue to come up with the best practical solutions to benefit both the municipality and the affected tenants.

The evictions were set to be effected last Friday.

The council's acting chief executive officer, Jegg Christiaan, yesterday confirmed Mushelenga's letter directing the council to put the eviction of three families from municipal houses on hold.

"There is no eviction happening," Christiaan stated, but declined to delve further into the matter.

Sources privy to the affair said council had notified the lawyers assisting them with the eviction matter to instruct the messenger of the court to suspend the ejection of the tenants.

The Namibian on Friday also reported that the Swapo Party leaders in the //Kharas region had denounced the planned evictions ahead of the national elections as a political ploy to discredit the Swapo-led government.

"It is my suspicion that these evictions are politically motivated, and were carefully planned by those fighting the Swapo-led government," said the party's regional coordinator, Mathew Mumbala, at a press conference the party held at Keetmanshoop last Thursday. During that press conference, council management committee member Ernst Jahs, who represents Swapo in the council, said he was not aware of a council resolution authorising the planned evictions.

"If my memory serves me well, I am not aware of a (council) resolution endorsing the evictions," he observed.

However, he acknowledged that council had discussions on the evictions when The Namibian put it to him that Christiaan had confirmed that the evictions started last year.

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