On Friday morning, some Walvis Bay residents erected illegal structures at the site where Tutaleni fire victims were previously accommodated in tents.
The residents said the Walvis Bay Rural constituency office administrator gave them permission to erect their structures anywhere, while the issue of land was being resolved.
“We went to the municipality and constituency office and were told we can erect tents anywhere until the land issue is sorted out. This is the ideal place because there are taps. We don’t know where to go. We were chased away from our renting places. We woke up at 06h00 and erected our shacks. Now we are told to break them down. We’ll just sleep outside here. I don’t know who alerted the police. The police told us that it was land grabbing. What should we do if we don’t have anywhere to go?” asked Bertha Josef.
“This place was really dirty when we got here. It’s a dumpsite where people urinate and dispose of their rubbish. We also want our comfortable life. We can’t afford rent. We can’t even make business because you pay more if you want to start a business where you rent. We just need our own places,” said Melisha Fidelis.
Walvis Bay Rural councillor Donatus Tegako said he received the same complaint, but was unaware how the alleged land grabbers were told to put up structures at the site.
“I’m out of town, but heard the rumours. What I know is that the constituency doesn’t deal with land issues. If they were told that from my office, it is wrong. I don’t know if it is really the case, but we will investigate,” said Tegako.
Walvis Bay Rural constituency office administrator Ruben Shikongo also denied telling people to grab land. “I’m not in a position to tell people to grab land. The municipality deals with such issues. I didn’t tell anyone to grab land. It’s impossible,” he said.
Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes, who addressed the group at the site, said the council would investigate to find out who is behind the land-grabbing unrest and other problems at the town.
“I found the fire department and police there. We’re working out what to do on Farm 37 and everybody knows it. It’s discomforting to still see such behaviour. This doesn’t make sense. Where were the people staying and where did they suddenly come from? They must be patient.
Now that this council came in, the level of impatience grew. Something smells fishy. “I don’t know why they’re doing this. This looks like instigation. When I look back at the petitions for land and roads, it looks like there’s a force outside trying to disrupt what the council is doing. We’ll not tolerate it. We will sit with the constituencies and other authorities to discuss how we can tackle this issue and see if the allegations are true,” he said.
Some of the residents decided to sleep in tents at the site as they have nowhere to go.