Rundu councillors apologize for threats of eviction

TUHINGIRENI: The Rundu Town Council has apologized to residents of the Tuhingireni informal settlement on the eastern outskirts of Rundu for earlier threats to evict them from this settlement.

The Rundu town councillors held a meeting with the Tuhingireni residents on Sunday to clarify the ‘eviction’ of over 2 000 residents, which has been the talk of the town recently.

In July last year, the town council notified residents that they were occupying a portion of land on the Rundu town’s farmland number 1329 without its authorization.

Early last month, the council again ordered the residents settled in the Tuhingireni area along the Trans-Caprivi Highway to stop erecting permanent structures.

In a dramatic turn of events, the town’s mayor Hilka Levi told the gathering, which almost got unruly, that the council has never issued letters to evict the residents, saying such reports were not true.

The mayor explained that as an elected political office-bearer, she will never resort to evicting people without first informing them publicly.

“The Rundu Town Council never wrote that letter to evict you – such information is not true,” she stated.

Levi said the council only issued letters to certain residents settled on the eastern side of the Tuhingireni informal settlement for allegedly settling there illegally and putting up permanent structures.

She indicated that there is currently an ongoing court case against such residents, but did not want to dwell on it, saying the court will pronounce itself once the case is finalised.

According to documents in possession of this agency, the Rundu Town Council had sued 13 residents of the Tuhingireni area, who have allegedly built permanent structures in the area, and the case is currently ongoing in the High Court.

The Rundu Town Council management committee’s chairperson, Johannes Murenga added at the same meeting on Sunday that council had warned the affected people not to build permanent structures in advance, but they defied the council’s orders and continued developing the area, which he said was a violation.

Murenga also apologized to residents for the misleading information of evicting all residents, which the council may have conveyed.

The meeting almost got disruptive when some angry residents accused the councillors of not being honest, but members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) were in attendance to restore order.

The residents demanded that the council issues a public apology on the local Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) airwaves, something the councillors agreed to do.

The disputed land is not serviced, and has no basic services such as water, electricity and sewerage networks.