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August 16, 2011

Tempers flare over land allocation in Namibia

by Magreth Nunuhe

Tensions are running high in Groot Aub, Namibia over the alleged allocation of land to people with white-collar jobs in capital city Windhoek who have flocked to the settlement but are now being looked at with contempt by the original inhabitants.

Arie Frederick, the Khomas Regional Councillor for Windhoek Rural, convened a meeting between the people born in Groot Aub and the “settlers.” There was a heavy police presence at the meeting where Frederick met residents to discuss burning issues troubling the small community which included... the land allocation issue.

The land issue seems to have created major hostility among residents as those born in Groot Aub are angry about new settlers being allocated land while they are told land allocation has been frozen.

“Which committee gives erven (urban plots)? If I can’t get a business erf here, then nobody will!” said one angry resident.

Another resident asked why some people had acquired three to four erven while others had nothing.

“Is it being a Namibian citizen or is it being born in Groot Aub to get land?” asked one of the new settlers, whose question was met with hostile remarks.

Cicel Titus, a community activist, read a letter addressed to the Groot Aub Development Committee written by the Khomas Regional Council in which it was decided to freeze all new land allocations in 2003 following a huge influx of people to Groot Aub. The letter, dated August 17, 2009, ordered that until the Regional Council reconsiders the decision, no farming plots or erven would be allocated.

Frederick said everyone had a right to live where they want and that the only problem was the procedure used to acquire land in Groot Aub. He gave an example of Windhoek where a lot of people were not born there but were able to get erven.

The councillor said he had a long list of people waiting to get plots while others were giving out erven left and right.

“While others are on the waiting list, the place is getting full. I have given no one instructions to do things on behalf of my office,” he added, warning residents that he would give orders to the police to stop anyone seen building illegally.

New Era

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