Eveline de Klerk
Walvis Bay-Pressure is mounting at Walvis Bay as landless residents want the Walvis Bay Municipality to temporarily settle them on a piece of land in Tutaleni from where they were evicted by the police on Tuesday.
The municipality last year temporarily resettled about 200 landless residents on a piece of land in Tutaleni, now referred to as Twaloloka, after residents had initially clashed with the police over the illegal occupation of land that was allocated for the construction of a police station.
After being evicted twice from privately owned land, last year’s group started sleeping in the sand dunes until the municipality quietly allowed them to temporarily settle on the piece of land they currently occupy.
Wanting the same privileges, about 150 illegal land occupiers on Wednesday marched from Tutaleni to the Walvis Bay municipal offices where they requested temporary accommodation in a petition they handed to the council.
Indications are that there are about 1 200 landless residents in the group that wants temporary land to erect their shacks.
Speaking on behalf of the landless, Nehale LyaMpingana (Junior) said they have nowhere else to go as most of them were evicted from their shacks because they simply could not afford the exorbitant rental fees.
“We also want to be accommodated like the others and are requesting the municipality to give us a portion of land on the same conditions as the others,” he said.
He added that there are women and children among them who desperately need shelter, as well as people on medication.
“The police destroyed all our properties, our valuable documents as well as the antiretroviral medication of some people. Therefore we want the municipality and the owner of the land to come together and allow us to stay on the land until a permanent solution is found,” he said.
Desperate residents also said they will build their own bathroom facilities and water infrastructure while on the property.
Speaking on behalf of the council, Councillor Gibson Goseb said they acknowledge the plight of the landless and that the issue will be discussed. “However, I cannot say when and how we will respond on this issue,” he said.
The police indicated yesterday they will be patrolling the area to see that no structures are erected.