Outdated colonial laws taint liberation struggle

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Eveline de Klerk

Walvis Bay-Governor of the Erongo Region Cleophas Mutjavikua says outdated apartheid laws still in force in Namibia make a mockery of the sacrifices made by Namibians during the liberation struggle. Mutjavikua said this during the 39th Cassinga Day commemoration that was held at Walvis Bay yesterday morning.

Cassinga day is observed throughout the country on May 4 annually to remember the Cassinga massacre that saw hundreds of people, mainly children and women, killed by South African forces on May 4, 1978 when they attacked a Swapo camp in Cassinga, Angola.

According to Governor Mutjavikua, the outdated laws are not relevant for the Namibian people and hamper service delivery, especially when it comes to the provision of land due to bureaucracy caused by such laws.

Referring to the lengthy process, especially when it comes to extending the boundaries of towns in order to avail more land for housing, he said there is no need for such a lengthy process to have such a request approved. Under current circumstances the process can take more than two years.

The governor also pointed to the Farm 37 situation, about 5 kilometres from Walvis Bay centre, where Erongo Regional Council and Walvis Bay Town Council plan to develop low-cost housing, but have niot been able to proceed.

“We applied last year in March for that piece of land in order to create a new suburb. It’s been a year and we’re still struggling to get it approved. We had a high level discussion with the Namibia Planning Advisory Board (Nampab) in January. Since then they are still busy studying the minutes of the meeting for approval. This is the type of bureaucracy we’re talking about and it must stop, as it hampers service delivery,” Mutjavikua charged.

Walvis Bay Town Council wants to relocate 65,000 residents, who currently rent accommodation, as well as low-income earners, such as kapana sellers and taxi driver to Farm 37.

However Nampab rejected their submission last November on grounds the residents were not informed about the planned relocation. Council went back in February this year and consulted with its residents and once again made a submission to Nampab, but are still waiting for feedback.

The Erongo governor appealed to Namibian lawmakers to go back to the drawing board and review such laws, to bring them in line with the aspirations of the Namibian people and their needs.

“Our laws must respond to the needs of our people… It should not take us ages to create new suburb. We take cognisance of Tutaleni and the Democratic Resettlement Community and the situation our people find themselves in. Thus we should not waste time and slow down processes that can ultimately enhance the livelihoods of our people. If we don’t, we are making a mockery out of our fight for independence, “Mutjavikua said.

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