By Anna Shilongo
Fifty-nine-year old pensioner, Walter Pakarae, is homeless after a housing deal in which he was involved went sour. He was subsequently evicted from the house by the City of Windhoek because of unpaid municipal bills.
With his little savings Pakarae bought a house, which he later swapped for a house that belonged to Damaseb Japheth before independence. After the exchange, Pakarae moved into House Number 8623 in Shanghai Street in Katutura that belonged to Japheth. The house is located just opposite the Single Quarters in Katutura.
According to a close friend, no contract was signed between the two.
The house in Shanghai Street initially belonged to Hendricks Morkel before he sold it to Damaseb Japheth.
Japheth then decided to smooth-talk Pakarae so that they could exchange their properties.
Until today, Japheth stays in Pakarae’s house, while Pakarae is a disappointed man because he had to be evicted for unpaid bills not accumulated by himself.
“I don’t think there was any contract signed at the time my friend switched houses with Japheth. It seems like they did their deals on the black market without any contract being signed and, until the City of Windhoek evicted my friend, that house was still under Hendricks Morkel’s name,” said a close friend who refused to reveal his name.
Although the house belonged to Pakarae after they finally swapped the properties, Japheth apparently insisted the house remain under Morkel’s name – for reasons known only to himself.
“Because of this, Pakarae’s house remained in Morkel’s name and he had no proof or evidence that the house belonged to him. Hendricks Morkel, who was the registered owner, died a few years ago,” said Pakarae’s friend.
Consequently, the old man found himself in hot water when the City of Windhoek asked him to settle a bill of N$15 000 that he was not even aware of. His case was handed over to the lawyers, and he was asked to pay N$1 000 on a monthly basis – money he could not afford to pay.
When the lawyers noted that he had subsequently skipped payments of his municipal fees, the municipality confiscated some of Pakara’s furniture, which they later auctioned.
The municipal bill came at a time when Pakarae was also without a job.
He was given a particular date to settle the bill to avoid being evicted from the house.
However, the amount was way beyond his means, and the old man was forced to give up the house.
“He couldn’t even go to the bank for assistance as he was unemployed. How was he going to settle the loan when he was unemployed? He was left with no choice but to leave the house,” said his close friend.
Pakarae, who has been homeless for the past nine months, has been looking for shelter from one family member after the other after being unceremoniously evicted from his house.
“I could not express my feelings at the time of my eviction. I personally asked the City of Windhoek to give me time, but they couldn’t. They kept to their date,” he said.
Pakarae lived in House No. 8623 for about 30 years” All my children where born and raised in that house, and I never thought I would one day become homeless,” he said.
Vandals stripped the house after his eviction and it stood unoccupied for a period of nine months.
Thieves stole every thing they could get hold of, such as zinc, doors, window frames, toilet pots, basins, an electricity box and electrical wiring, as well as tiles.
The only thing left was half a corrugated iron sheet that was cemented to the wall.
The unoccupied house became known as a home for the homeless, including young children who would come and play in the yard. Some even used it as a short cut to wherever they were going.
Efforts to obtain comment from the Municipality have been in vain, because both municipal spokepersons, Ndangi Katoma and Elizabeth Sibindi, were said to be on leave at the time.
Japheth was also unavailable for comment.