Kamanjab-By 19h00 residents of Kap and Bou retreat into their shacks to avoid being hit with stones and other missiles that are usually thrown on their houses by gangs of criminals that have become a menace at the informal settlement in Kamanjab. The settlement is without toilet facilities and it has no electricity.
The settlement where poverty is rife, only has two water points for its 200 residents.
“Within few minutes from now I have to go inside (my shack). Soon stones will be thrown and one cannot sit or do anything outside as criminal elements throw stones on us,” said Elfriede !Guim as she sits beside a fire with three of her relatives while sipping tea. Rascals usually pelt residents of Kap and Bou which means Chop and Build, with stones, particularly when darkness sets in.
!Guim says Kap and Bou residents are in need of electricity, toilets and more taps. “Because there is no electricity, theft is high and we cannot leave our belongings outside,” !Guim further revealed.
!Guim also has to look after her two uncles who are between the ages of 60 and 75 years, who reside in a nearby shack. “Imagine life for elderly people here, no electricity and no toilets. Besides stones being thrown on us, I have to go to my uncle’s house to see if they are well or if they want go to the bushes to relieve themselves,” !Guim says.
An uncle of Elfriede, Simon !Guim a 63 year old pensioner says, “As you can see we don’t have electricity or toilets, we are in need of basic services here. I have to wait on my grandchildren to come from school so that they can fetch some water for me as I cannot see properly,” said the pensioner.
!Guim says, “Grandchildren take us to bushes” when nature calls as he is partially blind while his brother is also disabled. Andreas !Guim (75) interrupts saying “How can humans be allowed to live here?
50-year-old Frieda Tjaapehi says that she is residing in Kap and Bou informal settlement for nearly a year and she fetches water for herself when her grandchildren are not at home. “We are totally forgotten and we don’t know when services will be available to us,” Tjaapehi said.
Belinda /Uises (29) said that even when it’s dark one has to go to the bushes as “I cannot relieve myself in a nagpot (container use for urinating in at night) and throw it away as houses are all over.” /Uises in a strongly worded response said “We were just thrown on this un-service land. We are just known for voting and we are now the forgotten voters.”
Another 22-year-old woman who refused to identify herself as she might be side-lined from taking part in food for work programmes or other programmes, for speaking to the media told New Era that she relieves herself in a plastic container when nature calls and throws it away early in the morning. “Since we came here nobody cares about us and we have to be dropped off in the middle of nowhere and walk as there are no proper roads,” the 22-year-old said.
She is also concerned about the N$30 she has to fork out to refill water cards as she feels that amount is too high for the residents who are mostly unemployed like her.
Residents have asked Kamanjab Village Council to start the price of refilling water cards from N$5-00 as well as to reduce the N$250 they are requested to pay for the water cards which can only be used if one pays N$30-00.
While travelling to Kamanjab Health Centre, one has to pay N$40-00 for a trip to seek medical care and this amount is deemed as high for the majority of unemployed residents at the settlement.
In Kap and Bou informal settlements zebra snakes are also killed regularly by residents.
“Some of us have decided that we won’t vote unless councillors make us happy. No services no votes,” said a 22-year-old resident. New Era was informed that concerns of residents were addressed to both the Kamanjab Village Council and Kunene governor, Marius Sheya.
Kamanjab Village Chairperson, Niklaas Hendricks, said Kap and Bou is a new informal settlement although some of its inhabitants say they have been residing there for more than year. Most of its residents are from Extension 2. Hendricks said that the Kunene Regional Council promised to build seven stand point taps in the Kap and Bou informal settlement last year but residents are still waiting.