7de Laan squatters ordered to vacate

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Maria Amakali
Windhoek

Residents of 7 De Laan, Otjomuise whose homes were demolished by City of Windhoek police on March 28, have been ordered to vacate the area before April 28 after they partially lost their case in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

Fifteen residents of 7 De Laan, with the assistance of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) group, last month took the municipality to court on the grounds that their eviction from the area was illegal, as there was no court order to that effect.

The 15 applicants were found to have erected shacks illegally on municipal land. The applicants in turn argued that they had been residing at that location for more than three years.

The court, however, dismissed Part A of the application, in which the applicants wanted the court to order the municipality to immediately restore possession of their building materials that were seized; restore their homes that were demolished on March 28 by city officials and order the respondents that are opposing the relief sought, to pay the costs of the suit jointly and severally.

Part B of the application, in which the applicants questioned whether it was within the city’s legal rights to evict the residents from their homes on March 28, will be heard on April 26. The issue of costs will be also determined then.

New Era visited the location where the residents had erected their homes and asked the people there how they felt about the court order. Upon arrival at the location, the residents were busy fixing their tents and preparing themselves for the rain that was about to pour.

During the eviction, the city confiscated the building material of some shackdwellers, who now live in tents. “We are now forced to live like street kids. We want our things back,” said Tamale Imango, one of the evictees, further stating that they have no idea where they are supposed to move to, as they have nowhere left to go.

“Those people do not care about us. They are busy living a comfortable life in their expensive homes,” said Imango, who had migrated from Rundu to the capital in search of greener pastures.

The locals say before they took the decision to erect shacks of their own they were renting in the same area where rent ranged from N$1,100 to N$3,000 per month. “We have no jobs and now we are being told to move… if they want us to move they should tell us where we should go,” said a tearful Imango.

Christine Likuwa, who was offered alternative accommodation with her family at a local bed and breakfast, will for now remain there until the case is finalised.

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