Squatters keep Rundu coffers empty

04 June 2019 | Local News

Acting Rundu CEO Sikongo Haihambo says a collective approach is needed to address land-grabbing, which has resulted in thousands of people cheating the council out of revenue that could be used to develop the town.

The dire situation sees the council unable to give the green light to proposals from investors and developers, because prime land is currently occupied by illegal squatters.

This means the land cannot be surveyed and sold to generate revenue for the local authority.

The bone of contention is that the illegal squatters say they have nowhere else to go, which means the council will have to address their relocation as well.

Haihambo said the time has come for the various stakeholders to engage with each other and find a solution.

“The Rundu town council cannot solve this problem alone; all stakeholders need to be on board and we must engage to solve the problem collectively,” Haihambo said.

The impasse between the illegal squatters and the town council led to an incident last month in which the council instructed NamWater to stop supplying water to an area along the Rundu-Cuma road, where residents are occupying land illegally.

This was seen an attempt by the council to get the illegal squatters to move, so the area could be surveyed.

NamWater complied for five days, but eventually restored the community's water supply.

The water utility said it had investigated the matter and resumed its supplying of water to the community, until such a time that due process is followed. Haihambo said on 24 May, the council had a meeting with the community and it was resolved that further consultations are needed in order to address the issue.

He explained that the next meeting will take place between various leaders on a regional, traditional and political level. Haihambo said they will engage extensively in order to seek solutions to the issues at Rundu.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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