'Leave us in peace'

23 October 2019 | Local News

Residents of Rundu's Tumweneni informal settlement held a peaceful demonstration at the offices of the town council yesterday morning.

They demanded that they be respected and left in peace.

The council refused to accept the group's petition on the basis that it had not been informed about the protest. A court order had been secured to evict the illegal squatters, but they resisted police efforts to remove them last week.

Rundu CEO Herman Haingura said they were not informed about the protest.

The protestors said before the council evicts them from a piece of land along Cuma Road, all residents who have settled on unsurveyed land within the town's boundaries should face the same music.

They said the precedent over the years had been that people settled on land first and then the council provided them with services.

They also accused council employees of owning plots in unsurveyed areas.

“We deserve respect and we will not allow you to treat us this way,” the petition said.

“Why us? We are Namibians too; this is our motherland and we will never move, no matter what.

“Let the town council tell us which areas were surveyed first, before allocating land to residents.

“Our culture in Rundu is that people settle first and after they have settled the town council will then provide services to them.

“If we are to be removed, let the town council start with all the unsurveyed areas in Rundu and we from Tumweneni should be the last to be removed,” the petition continued.

The protestors gave council 14 days to respond to their demands, threatening unspecified action if it failed to do so.



Failed eviction

The eviction order was issued by the High Court on 27 June.

Last Tuesday the Rundu district deputy sheriff was sent packing, together with the police, after armed residents stopped them from demolishing their homes.

It was then agreed that the residents write to the town council, which was never done.

The squatters instead opted for yesterday's demonstration.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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