RESIDENTS of the Sky settlement at Oshakati are outraged at the Oshakati Town Council’s decision to relocate them to Onawa informal settlement, where they say they will not have access to sanitation.
Earlier this month Oshakati’s mayor, Leonard Hango, commissioned the relocation of 533 families from Sky to Onawa informal settlement.
At the time Hango said the residents are being relocated because the Sky area is overcrowded and does not have basic amenities.
Vistorina Ipinge (54), a Sky resident, who also serves on the settlement’s committee, however, says the town council has only erected six temporary toilets at Onawa.
She says residents have to relieve themselves in nearby bushes.
« When we had a meeting with the mayor on 7 April, he said there are toilets and taps at Onawa, but it’s not true.
« There are only six toilets and no taps. People are being forced to pay N$500 so that we can get water from their houses. There is no electricity. Where are we going to relieve ourselves when we move to Onawa? » Ipinge asks.
PREGNANT AND SLEEPING OUTSIDE
Some residents say when council officials demolish their shacks, they promise to transport dwellers’ building materials, but do not do so.
On Monday night, a heavily pregnant Ester Kakuwa (29) reportedly had to sleep outside after her shack was demolished by council officials who allegedly refused to transport her corrugated iron sheets and help her erect her shack at the new location.
« They told me if my neighbour was not willing to move to Onawa, they couldn’t take my things there, » Kakuwa says.
Kaino Petrus, another resident, says Hango promised they would be given new building materials at Onawa, but some people have only been given one pole and two corrugated iron sheets.
Police officers, who were called to the area yesterday after some residents refused to be moved, told The Namibian the residents are « like mental patients ».
Some casual workers employed by the council to help with the relocation claimed they were harassed by council officials.
« When we ask them to provide us with masks and hard hats they threaten to have us fired, » a casual worker says.
Oshakati’s acting chief executive officer Kornelius Kapolo yesterday defended the relocation.
« As we speak we have managed to build six toilets. Some of them will be built in the next financial year, » he said.
Kapolo said Onawa is an improvement on the sanitation available at Sky, since Sky residents have to relieve themselves along the oshana.
He said connecting to water supply at N$500 is cheaper than the normal cost of N$2 800.
« The council has subsidised them. We are trying to formalise the informal settlement, where people will have access to water, land, roads and electricity, » he said.
Kapolo said no casual worker has been fired.
He, however, acknowledged that there were a few misunderstandings between casual workers and council officials.
He also said casual workers would be provided with masks and other safety equipment.