Rundu Residents Vow to Develop Illegal Plots

RESIDENTS of the Tuhingireni informal settlement on the outskirts of Rundu say they will continue developing the area, despite a town council directive for them to vacate it.

In July last year, the council notified residents that they were illegally occupying a portion of the town’s farmland number 1329 and two weeks ago, the local authority again ordered the 150 residents of the area along the Trans-Caprivi Highway not to erect permanent structures.

The council’s public relations officer Benjamin Makayi said the council has earmarked the land for other developments, and people settled there did so without permission from the council.

He cautioned residents against erecting structures anywhere within the boundaries of the town without getting permission from the council as it is tantamount to illegal settling, and is punishable by law.

His aice however sparked an outcry from the affected residents, who convened a meeting last Sunday to discuss the matter.

Some residents have put up permanent structures such as brick houses, while others have fenced-off plots for possible future developments.

The residents and the town council have been at loggerheads over the issue, with the council even taking the residents to court. The case is set for hearing in the High Court in April next year.

The chairman of the affected group, Mathew Wakudumo, who owns a piece of land at Tuhingireni where he intends to set up a filing station and hospitality businesses, told Nampa on Wednesday that the residents resolved at their meeting that they would not move out.

Wakudumo claimed that the group, which includes prominent people like medical doctors, had obtained the unserviced land procedurally through the Village Development Committee (VDC).

“We are not going to move out of the area. We will continue to develop our plots, and if they want us to pay, they must tell us so and we will do it. Even if we get a verdict from the High Court, we will appeal against it,” he said.

He confirmed that the council had taken the issue to court, and that the residents were pooling resources together to raise funds for their legal costs.

Some of the residents argued that the land had previously been their mahangu fields. The disputed land is not serviced and does not have basic services such as water, electricity and sewerage.

Nampa

Source : The Namibian