Swakop Mafia Keeping Blacks Out

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Please allow me space in your esteemed newspaper to express my dissatisfaction with the Swakopmund Town Council in general and the Chief Executive Officer of the Swakopmund Town Council in particular. I have been a resident of Swakopmund since birth and I am currently self-employed through the tourism industry. It is with great interest that I came to take note of the recent developments in the town of Swakopmund. There appears to be a property boom in this town, which augurs very well for the local economy. However, it is very disheartening to learn that the black indigenous residents of Swakopmund do not play any significant part in this economy. This is marred by subtle and corporate racism that we are experiencing through the town council and some influential business people in the town. Looking at the local economy vis-ÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚Â-vis land, black Namibians were not allowed to even purchase land in the former so-called white areas. We were confined to areas like Mondesa. It is a very sad reality that even today, 16 years after independence, black Namibians are finding it extremely difficult to purchase prime real estate (owned by the council) in this town. There is an unwritten rule that a so-called German Mafia protected by the likes of some councillors ensure that blacks and other “incomers” in Swakopmund (black or white) will not get access to this land. The same mafia fought the change of the name of Kaiser Wilhelm Strasse to that of Sam Nujoma Avenue. The same people ordered the removal of a Christmas tree last year, because it looked “too African”. These matters have been dealt with at length so I don’t want to dwell too much on it. Another case in point is the Swakopmund Waterfront Development Project. The same group of people resisted the purchase of that land giving all kinds of reasons why it shouldn’t be developed. They mentioned environmental reasons, spoiling the view of the residents, Swakopmund has got too many houses and the list is endless. I personally attended some of these public meetings in which these things were mentioned. I am sure that if the proposal to purchase was made by the mafia, the group that’s so protected, the matter wouldn’t have taken so long. The land was eventually purchased through political intervention. Why is it that we must continue fighting for land. Unfortunately the attitude demonstrated by some councillors and company doesn’t augur well with the policy of national reconciliation and the equitable redistribution of wealth in this country. The contract of Mr Demassius, the CEO of the Swakopmund Council, was renewed recently. It is up to the councillors of the Swakopmund Town Council to sit down and determine if he really acts in the best interest of all residents, especially the blacks of Swakopmund. We are all committed to reconciliation, but subtle racism can cause emotions to flare up and land redistribution is a matter that we all should be sensitive about. I have done a bit of homework and discovered that more than 60% of land and property in Sam Nujoma Drive is owned by one individual. I don’t begrudge him that. Maybe he worked hard for it and paid for it fairly, but the same individual or families must not prevent black Namibians to have a piece of the economic cake. I call upon all councillors and residents of Swakopmund to be vigilant about those who do not have the interest of the broader Namibian public at heart and want to continue with the “old ways”. I thank you Timotheus Gariseb Swakopmund