Delayed compensation frustrates Bukalo residents

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Aron Mushaukwa

Katima Mulilo-The delay by the government in compensating residents of Bukalo who were told to relocate in order to pave the way for development has left them frustrated. As a result they on Tuesday sent a petition listing their complaints to the Bukalo Village Council chairperson Charles Siyauya.

Following the proclamation of Bukalo as a village in 2013, people falling within the boundaries of town land were advised to relocate and promised they would be compensated. The evaluation of their property was done as early as 2013, however four years down the line some were compensated while others are still to be paid a combined compensation of N$15 million.

Those mainly affected are residents of Mudaniko village who on Tuesday petitioned Siyauya. They want answers to why they have still not yet paid what they were promised.

Their main concern is that due to heavy rains in the Zambezi Region their houses have become dilapidated and are in need of renovations. Residents say they were advised by the village council not to do any adjustments to their property as they await compensation to go and build elsewhere.

In a petition read by the residents’ spokesperson John Mutonga they also want to know if they will now be compensated should they renovate their homes following heavy rains.
Residents are also fearful that should they find a place to resettle they may never be compensated as it might seem they relocated willingly.

“We cannot move from here before we are compensated, as it was not our idea to move but theirs. They should pay us our money first for us to go and rebuild somewhere else,” said Nsala Munyaza, one of the affected residents.

Some senior residents complained that they don’t have money to go and rebuild and are waiting for the compensation money in order to move.

“I am a pensioner and I only depend on my pension to survive. Now I am told I should go and resettle somewhere else – where will I find money to rebuild?” questioned another resident Teresia Manyandelo.

“The wall of my house has fallen and I am now sleeping in a hut while my grandchildren are sleeping in this house without a wall,” she further complained.

Upon receiving the petition Siyauya acknowledged that the concerns of the residents are genuine, adding that the issue is known to central government. He however promised residents that he will refer the matter to the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sofia Shaningwa.

“You cannot be waiting for four years, now, counting from 2013. This situation equally affects council because we cannot bring infrastructure development in Bukalo, as the land to be serviced is still occupied and yet we receive sitting allowances and salaries for doing what, if we cannot provide decent accommodation to our residents?” said Siyauya.

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