Housing eludes Onandjaba residents

By Nuusita Ashipala

Okalongo

Owning a house is almost impossible at Onandjaba settlement as the demand outweighs the supply of plots currently available at the settlement. While the settlement has applications amounting to about 8 000, the settlement can currently only accommodate about 800 residential and business plots.
The Onandjaba community was on Wednesday informed that the settlement only has space for 543 residential plots, while the rest are reserved for business. Control administrative officer Amandus Kandowa said only 348 residential plots were approved while the issuing of lease agreements to the intended owners is in progress. According to Kandowa the settlement is faced with a plot dilemma as individuals who acquired plots through the traditional authority before the area was proclaimed a settlement have more than one plot.
“Some people had previously had land accommodating six plots, so they either have to be compensated,” he said. However, participants at the meeting disputed Kandowa’s claims, accusing officials of favouritism by awarding more than one plot to their cronies and relatives. Residents also accused the settlement office of grabbing land from individuals who once acquired it through the traditional authority and allocating it to individuals without compensation.
However, the settlement head remained adamant the settlement office can only reallocate plots once an agreement has been made with the plot owner to allow for fair compensation. The participants further accused the settlement of dishing out land to foreigners.
However, such allegations were dismissed with individuals cautioned to refrain from referring to people as foreigners.
Kandowa said all plots at the settlement were given to Namibians irrespective of the language they speak.
Also in attendance was the chief of the Ombadja Traditional Authority, Matias Walaula, who appealed for peace and unity in order to develop the settlement.
“Development in Okalongo will not forge ahead if we are divided. We need to remain united,” cautioned the chief. Walaula appealed to residents of Okalongo to distance themselves from fighting each other through the media, saying individuals should develop a habit of approaching the offices concerned before running to the media.



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