Land grabbing drama in Gobabis

09 November 2017 | Local News

Gobabis Town Council has been struggling to keep land grabbers at bay, after residents established yet another informal settlement.

According to council's public relations officer, Frederick Ueitele, the popping up of shacks and other shelters has been a big problem for the town. He says town council is approaching the issue with caution.

The new settlement is located near the Otjinene tar road.

According to Ueitele council fears for residents' safety, as the settlements are near the main road, with shack dwellers that have already exceeded established borders.

“The people in this informal settlement are not all needy or vulnerable,” said Ueitele. “We have found that some people are registered home owners who grab land to rent out to others in the town.”

Council worked with the National Housing Action Group and the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia to set up a survey to help these people and to set up agreements. However, Ueitele says some have already started building permanent structures on the land they grabbed.

A programme to formalise the area is being put into action where the people will have equally divided erven.

Council will also arrange meetings with the inhabitants to inform them of the consequences of their actions and to reach an agreement.

According to Ueitele, the issue will go to court if an agreement cannot be reached between the inhabitants and council.

Notice has also been given to inform them of upcoming meetings and to warn them to not grab land illegally. Council has previously successfully resettled residents of a former informal settlement. They hope to approach inhabitants of the newer settlements to also resettle them in established areas.

According to Ueitele, their success in resettlement has influenced other towns to learn from Gobabis on how to handle the issue.

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