Windhoek-Ten home owners who have illegally occupied municipal land in Otjomuise were ordered by the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court to vacate the property following an application by the City of Windhoek.
The squatters occupy a portion of 277 (a portion of Portion B) of farm Windhoek Town and Townlands No. 31, in particular Erf 3156 and Erf 3161, Otjomuise. In their defence, they said they are poor, landless people who were previously promised land by the City of Windhoek.
Handing down the judgement in the magistrate’s court in Katutura, Magistrate Alice Gawanas noted that poverty and landlessness do not give them the right to take the law into their own hands.
“I do not believe that poverty and landlessness can be used to justify or to pressurise a local authority to provide land, nor are these reasons to break the law,” said Gawanas.
Gawanas ruled in favour of the City of Windhoek whose application argued on various grounds that the occupants have illegally occupied the land and put up structures in dangerous circumstances.
The City further said the illegal occupation by the occupants places immense pressure on it in terms of land allocation and obstructs its planned development.
It further argued the structures of the occupants have been constructed on unserviced land with no access to roads, while some structures are under high voltage power lines and in riverbeds, which could pose a danger to the squatters.
It said all these are in contravention of the Windhoek Municipality Building Regulations. On the other hand, the respondents claimed they have been occupying the land since 2015. They believed should the City demand they vacate the land it should provide them with an alternative place or emergency camp.
“The laws governing local authorities serve a crucial purpose of planned and orderly urban development and they must be obeyed by everyone,” noted Gawanas.
Lawyer Mbushandje Ntinda represented the 10 home owners with Helmut Stolze representing the City of Windhoek.