Court interdict against mass occupation of houses

Michael Amushelelo

The High Court has issued a temporary interdict to stop the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) and one of its members, activist Michael Amushelelo, from carrying out threats to stage a mass occupation of houses and land in Windhoek today.

Windhoek High Court judge Nate Ndauendapo issued the order on Friday, after the minister of urban and rural development and a construction company involved in the government’s mass housing development programme, CalgroKuumba Planning and Design, filed an urgent application against the NEFF, Amushelelo and a group of their followers on Wednesday last week.

In the interim interdict granted by Ndauendapo, it is ordered that the NEFF, Amushelelo and followers who have responded to calls by Amushelelo to register themselves to be allocated houses in the Otjomuise Extension 10 area of Windhoek may not unlawfully enter the land on which those houses are situated. They may also not unlawfully occupy vacant houses or land in that area, and may not unlawfully erect any structures on the land in question, the court ordered as well.

Ndauendapo added that the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development’s executive director, Nghidinua Daniel, must engage in constructive dialogue with representatives of the NEFF, Amushelelo and their followers before 27 March in an effort to find a solution to the issues raised in the matter before him.

The interim order is at this stage in operation until 27 March.

During a hearing in court before the order was issued on Friday, Amushelelo told the judge he has registered 5 961 people to be allocated houses, and that he wanted the court to give all of them time to get legal representation for themselves and to file notices that they would oppose the legal action CalgroKuumba and the minister are taking against them.

Amushelelo – referring to himself as “the people’s general” – also said he and his followers have given the government a deadline of 28 February, by when they want to have a dialogue with the government and want to receive an explanation about what is going to be done with houses built in the Otjomuise Extension 10 area under the former mass housing development programme.

If their demands are not met, they would proceed to occupy the mass housing programme houses built at Otjomuise Extension 10 on 29 February(today), Amushelelo also said.

CalgroKuumba Planning and Design, whose shareholders are the companies Bigen Infrastructure Services Namibia and Afrikuumba Holdings, was contracted by the National Housing Enterprise near the start of 2014 to build 1 187 houses at Otjomuise Extension 10 under the mass housing development programme.

When the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development suspended the mass housing development programme in June 2015, CalgroKuumba had started to construct 362 houses at Otjomuise Extension 10.

In February 2016, the company and the ministry signed an agreement for the completion of the 362 houses on which construction had started.

Subsequently, though, disputes arose between the company and the ministry, bringing the construction of the houses to a standstill in 2017 and leading to legal battles between them in the High Court.

In an affidavit filed at the court last week, CalgroKuumba’s acting chief executive, Andre Olivier, said the 362 houses which Amushelelo, the NEFF and their followers are targeting to occupy are incomplete and unfit for human occupation at this stage, because infrastructure for municipal services and sewerage, water and electricity service connections still need to be installed.

CalgroKuumba can install the needed services only once it has received a variation order from the ministry, which was ordered by the court in November last year to issue the required order before 30 May this year, Olivier said.

Daniel, also charged in an affidavit filed at the court that Amushelelo and the NEFF are misleading people by creating the impression that they have the authority to register prospective recipients of houses built under the mass housing development programme and to allocate houses to people.

Their actions are undermining the rule of law, Daniel said.

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