Eveline de Klerk
The Walvis Bay police yesterday evicted four families, including a mother with four children, from a plot they had illegally occupied in Tutaleni.
Two of the families were not present when the eviction was executed by the police. The owners of one illegal structure were said to be in the north of the country, while the other two were at work at the time.
The police also confiscated some of the material used to build the shacks.
When New Era arrived at the plot, which is situated a few kilometres from the Walvis Bay Rural Constituency office,
at least five police vehicles were parked at the area and several police officers were busy loading some of the material onto a truck.
Beds, mattresses, television sets, blankets and other household materials were packed in one corner of the plot with small items scattered all around the open space, while some police officers stood between a large crowd of residents that watched as the situation unfolded.
A visibly distressed 45-year-old mother of three, Inocencesia Shihepo, was the only shack owner present when the police broke down the shacks.
An emotional Shihepo told New Era that she, out of hopelessness, had moved about two weeks ago to the area as she was evicted from the previous place she was staying.
“My landlord started to construct flats in the backyard and I had nowhere else to go with my children,” she said.
She said she does odd jobs to sustain herself and her children and was in no position to pay for a flat.
“I could barely pay for the shack I was living in. How would I be able to pay for a flat? That is the reason I moved here two weeks ago,” she said.
Rebecca Paulus also expressed her disappointment in the police for breaking down shacks without the knowledge of everyone who stayed there.
“My brother’s shack was also destroyed and they took the material he used to build the shack. His things are now scattered all around here. He does not even know that his shack was destroyed as he is currently in the north. They should have at least waited until everyone is present to carry out this inhuman act,” she said.
When approached for comment, Commissioner Andreas Nelumbu told New Era the police noticed that demarcations were made on the ground in the area over the weekend, but had informed people not to construct any shacks on the plot as it is privately owned.
“We told them not to, but they went ahead and built the shacks. Thus we had to break them down. We cannot entertain lawlessness,” said Nelumbu.