Lawyer Advises Residents to Sue Windhoek Council

A HUMAN rights lawyer has told residents of the Goreangab area that the demolition of people’s homes is illegal and in contempt of a court order.

Norman Tjombe who visited the Goreangab area, advised people whose shacks had been demolished by City Police last week to sue the City of Windhoek.

Tjombe said the demolishing of a shack belonging to Lukas Junias was unlawful.

“This is in violation of an order of the Supreme Court of Namibia which stated, when declaring unconstitutional an apartheid piece of legislation – the Squatters Proclamation of 1985 – that the city must first approach a Court of Law before evicting any person from its land or destroying any structures erected on the land,” Tjombe said.

He further added that the affected people’s rights to dignity, privacy and property – all which are guaranteed by the Namibian Constitution – had been violated. No court order was sought or obtained by the City before the demolition of the shack was carried out.

“The City Police officers who ordered these illegal actions may face criminal charges of contempt of court and pay several thousands of dollars in civil suits,” Tjombe added.

City Police Chief Abraham Kanime said he was ready to meet anyone in court.

“We followed correct procedures, we will meet in court. We demolished that shack because it was illegal and was not occupied. No one can tell me how to do my job,” Kanime said.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the City of Windhoek Joshua Amukugo confirmed that the municipality is not allowed to demolished illegal shacks without a court order.

“Yes demolishing of illegal structures was stopped unless we have a court order to do so. But in this particular case we saw that the owner was not living there and he wanted to change the structure from a residential one into a business structure and that is why we demolished it,” Amukugo said.

Junias said he was very unhappy because of the damage to his corrugated iron sheets.

“I am a teacher I am working hard to own my own place. When I was in class I received a text message that city police were busy demolishing my shack. This was supposed to be my home now I must go back to renting which is very expensive. I will definitely not leave this issue here,” Junias said.

Tjombe further said with the recent Supreme Court case, we all hoped that the municipality will deal with its impoverished residents who find themselves in desperate and deplorable housing conditions, with more compassion instead of brute force reminiscent of the apartheid era of forced removals of black people.