A wheelchair-bound woman has complained of being ill-treated by Katima Mulilo town council following her relocation to the old Legislative Hall in the centre of town to make way for the formalisation of Choto informal settlement.
Rochester Lubasi says the hall has a leaking roof, is home to mosquitoes and pigeons that are breeding in the structure, and she is having difficulties moving around because the hall is not suitable for wheelchair access. Lubasi is peeved that it is taking the council long to avail her a house, as promised.
However, the chief executive officer of Katima Mulilo Town Council, Charles Nawa, insists the council has not neglected Lubasi, and is fully aware of her needs. Her relocation to the hall was supposed to be temporary, Nawa said.
“Why we put her there is because we had nowhere to take her. The hall has flushing toilets and is the only existing conducive environment for her right now,” said Nawa.
Nawa says the construction procedures that need to be followed stalled completion of her house. “The house is almost done. It’s just the finishing touches left. To build a house you have to follow procedures. unfortunately. Council has to pass a resolution before it goes out on tender. Some delays were unforeseen, but very soon she will be moved to her house”, Nawa said.
Katima Mulilo Town Council last year relocated some Choto residents due to the formalisation of the settlement, a joint project between the Namibian government and Lux Development, which would see the servicing of around 300 plots at Choto settlement. Residents were relocated to allow for the servicing of the plots.
Lubasi says the council had promised her that she would only have to stay in the hall for a couple of months while her new house is being completed. That was last year.
“We were affected by the formalisation of Choto last year and also relocated because of the rains that affected some residents during that time. We were given tents at a site in Choto, but my wheelchair broke because the environment was not friendly and I was moved to this hall and promised that a house would be built for me within two months by the town council”, narrated Lubasi.
Lubasi noted that she only received a plot following her relocation after she had threatened to go to the media. “I was given a plot in Choto, but only after I threatened to go to the media. The house being built there is not complete, even though the CEO promised it will be built within two months. they started building the house in September last year, but up to now it’s not complete. When I call Mr Nawa, he doesn’t answer my calls,” Lubasi complained.
Lubasi says the relocation has also affected the education of her 19-year-old son, who now has to do house chores.
“My son’s studies are affected by my condition. This is made worse by this hall.
As you can see it’s too high for me to move around. I have fallen on those steps several times. My son is in the hostel and I have to call him all the time to come and help me. He is my only child,” Lubasi explained.
Nawa reiterated that the council has not abandoned Lubasi: “We dont ignore her, we cannot cater for her every need unfortunately. We urge her family members to help her out with other things. It looks as if her family has deserted her.”