Ongwediva – A meeting called by the Oshana Communal Land Board to seek clarity on the allocation of plots within the road reserves turned into a heated affair on Friday, with traditional authorities blaming landowners of illegally selling off communal land.
Some landowners accused Roads Authority of giving individuals a green light to put up structures within road reserves when consulted before the construction commences.
The traditional authorities in turn blamed Roads Authority for failing to regulate and enforce the law to ensure there are no structures set up along the road.
The situation has created difficulties for service providers, such as northern power distributor Nored, Telecom, NamPower, as well as NamWater, whose infrastructure is located within demarcated erven, making it near impossible to respond promptly to emergencies.
Structures are built over main waterpipes; some are built under overhead powerlines, while yet others are built too close to the main roads, thus putting lives in danger.
At the meeting at Opoto near Ongwediva the chairperson of the board, Reinhold Iita, as well as the Roads Authority’s chief engineering technician, Silas Temba, urged households living within 100 metres from the road to remove their structures.
“We have demolition papers for all the structures within the road reserves. However, the challenge we face is that individuals refuse to take them. But we have them at the office,” said Temba.
Iita further wanted to know who had granted ownership of the land to lodges and businesses along the road, but the traditional authority present maintained that the erven were allocated by local landowners.
Senior headman of the Uukwanyama Traditional Authority Amon Shipanga said the traditional authority has noted cases of big businesses along the road, whose allocation was not approved by the authority.
Iita, who also accused the traditional authority of being toothless in controlling the allocation of land, pleaded with landowners to engage the local authority before selling off parts of their plots. He also appealed to the traditional authority to consult the communities concerned and all relevant stakeholders before allocating land to big businesses in their areas.
Speaking at the same occasion NamWater representative Moses Shakela appealed to the traditional authorities to assist in guarding against vandalism of water infrastructures. Shakela said individuals who have built structures on top of water pipelines face the imminent demolition of such structures, if there is a burst in the pipes.
All affected service providers said there would be no compensation for damage to properties removed from within the road reserves.