Katima Mulilo town council defends demolishing of houses – says it warned residents
Illegal squatting and land occupation are a thorn in the flesh of local authorities and a emotional issue for informal communities.
This week the Katima Mulilo Town Council defended its actions to demolish the shacks of its poorest residents saying forceful removal of the shacks is in line with its mandate. The mayor of Katima Mulilo said that the residents have been warned about constructing illegal dwellings.
This comes after citizens raised dissatisfaction across social media, condemning the council’s move that left many of the town’s poorest residents without a roof over their heads.
“The Namibian nation should be informed in no other terms, that Katima Mulilo Town Council is only carrying out its mandate to provide serviced land and other amenities at a cost and with this illegal land occupants, it has become difficult for this Council to carry out this constitutional mandate,” Her Worship Mayor Georgina Mwiya-Simataa said.
Mwiya-Simataa added that during 2014/15 the town council discovered that some residents were settling in various parts of town without its permission, particularly the Lwanyanda compound, New Cowboy and Dairy compound, Choto, West Macaravani and East Macaravani.
“Protracted negotiations with the illegal land occupants since 2014 to voluntarily stop erecting structures proved futile as illegal occupants continued to construct immediately after every effort by Council to stop the illegal exercise,” she added.
The Katima mayor stated that the council wanted to start constructing low cost houses in these areas, however, the process proved futile as “illegal occupants blocked all Council efforts to provide the needed services.”
Furthermore, the town council added that it gave the residents 14 days to vacate the area and that the demolishing of these houses was done lawfully as a case of illegal occupation was opened with the Namibian Police Force.
“Removing of these illegal structures will pave the way for Council to service land, which is land that is occupied [and] already identified for services. I therefore wish to assure the nation at large, more especially the residents of Katima Mulilo, that Council will make sure that the issue of illegal land occupation is resolved amicably to the benefit of the residents,” said Mwiya-Simataa after the homes were destroyed.