Namibians Forget Too Soon – Amathila

FORMER deputy Prime Minister Libertina Amathila has reminded the nation that the land crisis in the country was much worse after independence in comparison to the recent situation.

Amathila, who is renowned for her commitment towards land and housing, was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of over 1 000 houses outside Okahandja yesterday.

She urged the nation not to forget the days when the majority of Namibians were homeless just after independence.

“People tend to forget where we are coming from concerning housing. We always hear nothing has changed. We found a serious situation of housing in Namibia at independence,” she said.

Amathila reminded the audience that thousands of Namibians were squatting and displaced in the early 1990s.

“I even found people sleeping in cemeteries. Some were living in river beds. The situation was dire,” she recalled.

She said the government that was sworn in at independence made housing a priority, followed by health, education, water and sanitation.

Amathila said government ensured that over 450 houses were built in Ongwediva, 45 in Ondangwa and more than 50 in Oshakati through private partners such as Hanover.

At the same occasion, Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba reiterated his stance on the recent land-grabs in Windhoek, calling it a sign of poor leadership.

Mbumba ordered leaders to refrain from grabbing land, saying land seizures should not be condoned. His warning comes after the former Swapo Party Youth League member Job Amupanda’s recent land-grab in Kleine Kuppe that sparked widespread reaction last week.

Mbumba said the land crisis in the country has been receiving a lot of attention lately, particularly in the media.

“It seems the media have been reporting on very little else – but it is a critical issue that involves a basic human right,” he said.

Mbumba also urged local authorities to exercise caution and be lenient before demolishing shacks and evicting people from their homes.

“They (the poor) are forced to live in such conditions because of unemployment. Evictions will only heighten their sense of hopelessness,” he said.

Source : The Namibian