Keetmanshoop-Residents of the single quarter units in Tseiblaagte were dazed and confused after a rezoning notice was put up at their premises seeking objections to the rezoning plans.
Many confused tenants for some reason read the notice as an evacuation notice, informing them to vacate the premises within 14 days and were up in arms demanding an explanation from Keetmanshoop Municipality, which they accused of not informing them beforehand about the latest developments on their erven.
Residents New Era spoke to were shocked that they were being asked to vacate rooms they have occupied for almost 20 years, saying they have nowhere else to go in such a short period of time.
One of the tenants, Melania Amutenya, 22, said this is the only home she has known since she was two years old and did not understand why people were being asked to vacate. She said although some people were willing to move, they do not understand why they were being asked to vacate the premises, as the municipality had not consulted them on the issue.
Many of the tenants who did not understand the notice called on the municipality to have a meeting with the residents to clarify to them what the new development means. “We do not have a problem with leaving, but where will the people go? Where will we start?” Amutenya asked.
Keetmanshoop Municipal spokesperson Dawn Kruger quashed any talks of an evacuation order against the tenants, saying the municipality has never issued such a notice to any tenant.
She explained that the erf in question belongs to the municipality, but part of it was sold to Catholic Aids Action, and the erf was thus subdivided. Because the owner of the land wants to rezone it from ‘undetermined’ to ‘institutional use’, a notice was put up seeking any objections to that.
Dawn said the notice was simply to inform the tenants of what their neighbour intends to do and give them two weeks to lodge any objections towards the rezoning plans, and was not intended to inform the tenants to evacuate, as wrongly understood by some tenants.
“There is no eviction order at all. It was just a big misunderstanding and what might have added to the confusion is that the erf number on the notice is the same as that of the area they reside,” she said, and asked the residents to be calm as no one would be asked to evacuate the premises for any reason.
The Catholic Aids Action Trust wants to rezone the area and use it as an HIV-testing and counselling facility, as well as set up a soup kitchen and administration facility.