Land grabbing fever has spread to Tsumeb where a group of around 1,000 youths attempted on Sunday to clear a piece of land earmarked for residential projects by the municipality.
The Tsumeb youths, however, distanced themselves from the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) group, saying they are ordinary Tsumeb residents.
Members of the Town Council, accompanied by police, rushed to the scene to stop the people from occupying land illegally. Tsumeb Municipality Public Relations Officer Stella Imalwa confirmed the incident to New Era saying:
“Yes, land grabbing was reported yesterday. The group claim they were not grabbing land, but apparently only wanted to put pressure on Council, in order to make them aware that they need land.” “The group claimed they are ordinary Tsumeb residents in need of land and not part of AR,” Imalwa said.
Brian Ochurub, one of the representatives of the group of people, who attempted to occupy land on Sunday, said many of the local residents have been applying with the municipality for years, but to date do not own any land and are fed up with paying high rental prices. “When we go to the municipality they say there is no serviced land available. We were born in this town and yet other people, like BH, are building houses on serviced land, so the people decided to go and mark out plots for themselves,” Ochurub said.
Ochurub noted that many people involved in the action over the weekend belong to community housing schemes, such as the Saamstan group, and have been paying their dues, but to date there is no progress in availing land to them.
Imalwa further said that consultations took place between the group and the municipality and the residents were asked to submit a list of names of those in need of residential land.
“The Council engaged the group this afternoon. They informed Council representatives that they urgently need land to set up their temporary shelters, as they cannot afford the current houses on the market. The group was asked to submit a formal letter with their demands to Council,” Imalwa said.