Tired of living in tents

Victims of the Twaloloka fire will move into their houses next month.

11 August 2021 | Accidents

Leandrea Louw







WALVIS BAY

The residents of the Otweya informal settlement - formerly known as Twaloloka – of Walvis Bay say they are tired of living in tents.

The group has been accommodated in tents after a devastating fire destroyed 153 shacks in July 2020.

Government, through the Office of the Prime Minister, passed a resolution to build houses for the fire victims, and the project was completed. The residents were supposed to move in by Tuesday, 10 August, but this has been postponed to September.

Despite expressing their displeasure about the long waiting period, the residents remain optimistic as they gathered on Monday to clean the completed houses.

But division is brewing among the residents after a dispute about the authenticity of a list of beneficiaries erupted.

Initially, 21 people were omitted from the list. This has been rectified through a Cabinet resolution passed at the end of July. The resolution stated that an additional 21 houses will be built, with the beneficiaries totalling 141.

Not here for politics

Meanwhile, a press conference called by Affirmative Repositioning (AR) activist Andemale Shikongo angered the residents.

“Those people who are calling the media here without informing us – that is the problem. We are not here for politics nor are we politically driven. We have been staying in the tents for a year, but those who are calling the conference are not staying here,” the residents said.

They emphasised that those who will benefit from the houses are fire victims. “There have been rumours that we kamma put our family members on the list. As soon as these rumours surfaced, we called governor Neville Andre and the police to do a thorough count of who is actually living here. We are strictly using the list we compiled after the fire,” Jolokeni Johannes, an Otweya committee member said.

Johannes also reprimanded the media, saying: “People call you and tell you lies. It’s only the committee members who have been appointed to talk on behalf of the fire victims”.

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