Erongo governor evicts illegal Otweya residents

Delayed notices irk community
Houses were built after a fire swept through the area in 2020.
Frieda Molotho
Residents of Otweya, an informal settlement in Walvis Bay, are up in arms after Erongo governor Neville Andre Itope’s office issued eviction notices to 18 illegal occupants of houses in the area.

The residents claim that the eviction letters - which were drafted in 2023 - were unfairly issued.

According to group chairperson Nehale LyaMpingana, although the eviction letters were drafted in August 2023, they were only delivered to the residents on 20 March 2024. This delay in issuance is unjust and has left many residents uncertain about their future, he said.

The houses were constructed as an emergency response to a massive fire that swept through Otweya in July 2020. The settlement was formerly named Twaloloka, but was renamed after the blaze which destroyed homes, left hundreds homeless and killed a baby.

After the fire, some residents occupied the new houses on a temporary basis, with the understanding that they would vacate them within a specified time.

LyaMpingana said: "We were shocked to receive eviction letters that were drafted months ago, but were only issued to us recently. This is deeply unfair".

The eviction notices, which required residents to vacate the premises by 24 November 2023, instructed them to return their house keys to the Walvis Bay municipality. However, residents argue that the delayed delivery of these notices has limited their ability to prepare for relocation adequately.

Police presence

Itope’s personal assistant Michael Jimmy defended the eviction notices, saying they were issued as far back as August 2023. He highlighted that before the houses were allocated to the residents, an agreement was signed in the presence of the police.

According to him, 31 houses were temporarily allocated to accommodate fire victims who had lost their shelter. He further explained that an assessment was conducted in the presence of the police, which revealed that of those 31 houses, 18 had been illegally occupied.

"These individuals were instructed to return the keys to the rightful owners, contributing to the issuance of eviction notices", Jimmy said.

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Namibian Sun 2024-04-25

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