Groot Aub land allegedly still allocatedBy: CATHERINE SASMAN
GROOT Aub residents claimed at a meeting held on Sunday afternoon that plots at the settlement and land on surrounding farms are still being dished out despite a freeze on land allocations since November 2003.
The situation has been brought to the attention office of the Khomas Regional Governor, which has express concern of the influx of new people to the Groot Aub settlement.
The Governor’s office reminded the community that the 2003 freeze on land allocations was still in place and that no person should be resettled there.
Windhoek rural councillor Frederick Arie and Groot Aub Swapo Party branch coordinator Fanie van Wyk are accused of to be at the helm of the underhand allocation of land.
This allegation was already made in May 2010 in a letter directed to Minister of Regional and Local Government Jerry Ekandjo that “Mr Frederick [Arie] and certain members of the community were allocating erven to people, making the current committee members [the Groot Aub development committee] looking incompetent and foolish in some of the views of the community”.
“I do not know what value there is to this rumour, but there are stories that Arie is giving land,” said Lesley Meyer, a representative of the /Khomanin Traditional Authority at Groot Aub.
“Groot Aub is being populated by people coming in. The Groot Aub residents are complying with that order of the committee, but as a result of this they do not get plots while those from outside do. Who has the right to give plots?” questioned Meyer.
Arie flatly denied the allegation, and instead blamed the traditional authority for dishing out land.
He blamed “newspapers run by white people [who] only want to advance the agenda of white people” for reporting only on negative stories, and not on positive ones such as the bridge now under construction across the Uiseb River under the Office of the Prime Minister’s Drought Management Fund.
In fact, the community meeting of Sunday did extend their thanks to the Prime Minister’s office for the bridge that is finally being built after Groot Aub residents had complained repeatedly that it is impossible to cross the river during the rainy season.
Van Wyk also vehemently denied the allegation, saying that community activist Cicel Titus, who had organised the Sunday meeting, was responsible for the rumours.
“It is easy to accuse people, but I think we should go to court to get this thing sorted out once and for all,” Van Wyk said, accusing Titus of being power hungry. “He is trying to do everything. He must show proof.”
Meyer claimed that Khomas governor Samuel Nuuyoma had documentary proof of erven and plots being allocated, but would presumably not inform community leaders who the guilty parties were.
Nuuyoma could not be reached for comment yesterday as he is attending the Swapo Party policy conference and would not take any calls.
In August 2009, the Khomas Regional Council sent out a letter to the Groot Aub development committee to express its concern over the continuous influx of people into the settlement.
The influx was believed to be taking place with the full knowledge of the development committee.
The letter stated that the regional council decision of 2003 to freeze the allocation of erven still stood, until such time that the council reconsidered it after the settlement had been formally declared and assets officially registered.
In the meantime, no applications for erven and farming plots are to be accepted by the council, and the old Groot Aub community members as well as new entrants were to be informed of this position.
The Khomas council letter specifically underlined that the allocation of erven without approval from the Khomas Regional Council is an illegal activity that could lead to prosecution.
It further stated that the development committee should be on the lookout for illegal settlers or any members of the community that engage in illegal plot allocation.
But the influx continues, allegedly without approval, and a directive that no permanent structures be put up is being disregarded as many brick houses are still being built.
Asked what the council is doing about the situation, Arie replied: “We have decided that they should continue and when our plans realise, we will ask the assistance of the police to remove all illegal structures.”
Asked what he would do with people approaching the council office for erven or plots, Arie replied: “Then we will tell them about the moratorium [on allocations] that is in place.”