Oshetu residents say no to move

10 September 2020 | Local News

People living in Oshetu informal settlement at Okahandja object to plans by the ministry of urban and rural development (MURD) to relocate them to a new area, saying that the place is too close to a dumpsite and lacks basic services.
According to the group’s spokesperson, Johannes Gaseb, residents are disappointed by Otjozondjupa region governor James Uerikua and the town’s caretaker Linus Garoeb representing MURD, for relocating then to a place near the dumpsite which is smelly and exposing them to diseases as it does not have water, electricity or toilets.
Gaseb said the ministry and the governor are clearing the new location in a hurry without proper planning and an environmental assessment being done, “because of the upcoming regional and local authority elections, treating people without dignity and respect by forcing them to go to a filthy area which is also full of snakes, and evicting people from land cleared already and near town”.
Furthermore: “We reject this exercise. We don’t want people to be resettled at a dumpsite. There is ample land in this area with provision of 1 767 plots, why can’t they allow people to settle here, which is already near town and has water and electricity,” Gaseb wanted to know.
He charged that MURD and the governor, who are spearheading the relocation, are acting outside their mandate as Local Authority Act No. 23 of 1992 does not allow them to handle land matters at local authority level in the absence of the town council, which is currently suspended.
“Democratically elected town councillors are currently on suspension and in the absence of the town council, this is a political ploy. Just because we are poor and destitute, does not mean we should live at a dumpsite,” Gaseb said.
When this news agency visited the area on Wednesday, the new location had demarcated plots with allocated numbers and is located approximately 100 metres away from the dumpsite with burning rubbish that caused a cloud of smoke and street kids scavenging around.
When contacted for comment, the ministry representative at the town, Garoeb, said he is not a “reactionist”, therefore cannot comment on people’s opinions, but can only talk about the progress made at the new location.
Minister of urban and rural development Erastus Uutoni said that the dumpsite will be moved far from the location, but did not mention when this would happen. – Nampa

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