Unam demolishes buildings occupied by 'squatters'

• Empty buildings lead to increased crime

31 July 2020 | Education

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The University of Namibia (Unam) has dismissed claims that it is evicting residents from its Neudamm campus, located about 30 kilometres outside of Windhoek.

Unam spokesperson John Haufiku told Namibian Sun they are in fact demolishing old houses that are unoccupied and being used by people to squat in.

This has also resulted in an increase in poaching on the farm, he said.

Haufiku explained that Neudamm first belonged to the agriculture ministry, but was then handed over to Unam.

He said at that stage, there was a community already living at the campus, which was an important labour supply to the government.



Squatting overnight

According to him, when Unam took over the campus, it was decided to build new houses next to the old buildings, instead of renovating the old ones.

“An entire new neighbourhood was built in which today only people who are in some way employed by Unam stay.”

Haufiku said when people realised the old houses are unoccupied, friends and family started squatting in the buildings.

“People from outside the Neudamm community started to squat in the buildings from time to time. They do not live there, but they will stay there during the night and when you come during the day, they will be gone.”



No evictions

He said they also started to notice an increase in the poaching of game such as oryx.

“These poachers will come and skin the animals in the abandoned buildings and then sell the meat to outside people.”

Haufiku said Unam therefore decided it is time to demolish these old buildings.

According to him, two buildings and one former kindergarten are being demolished as they are being used for criminal activities.

“No one from the Unam community is being evicted,” he stressed.

The Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Neudamm was founded in 1996.