Staff Writer

POLICE Inspector General Lieutenant-General, Sebastian Ndeitunga, is threatening taking over the running of the city of Windhoek, blaming councilors for the land grabbing that has escalated over the past few weeks.

Lieutenant-General Ndeitunga said this when he led members of the police Special Reserve Force on an operation to demolish shacks erected by homeless residents in the Babylon informal settlement. He says he has decided to join his demolition forces in the operation because the situation was getting out of hand. “I am now on the ground to clean up this mess, chaos and lawlessness. I think we will have to take over the council of Windhoek and run it while they put their house in order,” he said while watching officers pulling down shacks in the Babylon informal settlement.

“This should be a law-abiding society. Windhoek City Council is where the chaos started. If they are not careful we are going to run over that council and govern that council,” he added.

Of late Windhoek has witnessed the mushrooming of shacks in open spaces, including Otjomuise and Babylon, as homeless residents claim they cannot afford to continue renting from unscrupulous landlords who are charging exorbitant rentals.

Some people claim they lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and cannot afford to continue paying rent and want land to build their own homes.

The residents started grabbing land along Otjomuise and Matshitshi roads last week claiming that the land is theirs to take and build homes. Other land grabbers were busy in setting up structures at Babylon informal settlement.

Police officers were deployed in both areas to demolish the shacks but they met some resistance from the land grabbers in some areas. There were angry protests when Nampol and City of Windhoek Police officers demolished shacks at Mukwanangobe informal settlement last month with the help of a contractor hired by the council.

Angry land grabbers vowed to stay put and blamed opposition parties for letting them down. At the time city councilor Ivan Skywer, who arrived at the scene told NBC: “The land issue is a ticking bomb and the land grab was a result of a bigger problem.” He criticised the police for pulling down the shacks.With him was councilor Fransina Kahungu who said the situation had been allowed to grow. “These houses have been here for about two months with nothing being done.”

City of Windhoek Spokesperson, Harold Akwenye, says grabbing land is illegal and therefore all those illegally occupying land will face the consequences.

“We have by-laws setting what you can or cannot do. Those breaking these by-laws will face the consequences. Those grabbing land will be evicted and be prosecuted,” he said.

Akwenye declined to comment on Ndeitunga’s threat to take over the running of the city saying he had not seen the video in which he issued the threat.