Illegal construction continues unabated at Tuhingireni

TUHINGIRENI: Construction activities at the Tuhingireni informal settlement on the eastern outskirts of Rundu continues unabated with more permanent structures being set up there.

This is despite the Rundu Town Council orders, which barred residents from setting up permanent structures at this informal settlement.

A resident of the Tuhingireni informal settlement at Rundu who last year agreed to demolish illegal structures he erected at the informal settlement, continues to construct more structures there.

Kaghuyu Shikerete in mid-July last year gave in to pressure from the Roads Authority (RA) after they issued him with a notice instructing him to demolish the structure within 14 days.

The RA indicated that the structure was built four metres inside the area reserved of the Rundu-Divundu road.

He started erecting brick walls in the area despite the Rundu Town Council repeatedly warning Tuhingireni residents to desist from doing so, as they are occupying a portion of land on the town’s farmland number 1329 without its authorisation.

Although Shikerete earlier agreed to demolish the structure, he has now vowed not to move from Tuhingireni as he insists that the land he occupies was legally acquired.

Shikerete told this agency on Wednesday that he is busy constructing accommodation and toilet facility at his area, noting that his activities would not be interrupted by anyone.

He intends to set up a shop and accommodation facilities.

This agency observed other illegal occupants in the area busy putting up their shacks and clearing their areas.

Rundu Town Council Chief Executive Officer, Romanus Haironga, earlier told this agency that legal action is the only thing which will make Shikerete comply, and also deter other residents who harbour similar plans.

Efforts by this agency to obtain comments from the RA Kavango Regional Area Manager, Terence Mutaba, proved futile as he is out of the region.

On 28 July last year, RA issued a letter to Shikerete, instructing him to demolish the walls and level the ground as it was before. Should he fail to carry out the order, the RA would do so on Shikerete’s costs, it was stated.

The alleged illegal occupants have always argued that the land in question is not serviced and does not have basic services such as water, electricity and sewerage. As such, the council cannot lay claim to the land, the residents argue.

The group further called on the town council to survey the area and sell it to those who reside there, or alternatively to sell the unserviced land to the current occupants at a rate of N.dollars 5 per square metre, similar to the sale of land to a Chinese investor at Rundu.

The investor, Stina Wu, bought 3 517 square metres of land from the Rundu Town Council at a cost of N.dollars 5 per square metre as that land was not serviced.and#8232;

There is currently a court case in the High Court instituted against 13 residents for allegedly illegally settling in the Tuhingireni informal settlement and building permanent structures there.

In July last year, the Rundu Town Council notified residents that they were occupying the land without its authorisation.

In May 2013, the council again ordered the residents settled in the Tuhingireni area along the Trans-Zambezi Highway to stop erecting permanent structures.