A group of landless Swakopmund residents staged a demonstration, demanding fairness in the delivery of land at the town.

The group marched to the municipal offices, where they delivered a petition.

In the petition, residents called on the Swakopmund Municipality to allocate them land where they can set up their formal structures as well as provide affordable houses to its residents.

Community activist Caroline Kasenda read the petition. "An entrepreneur sells fat cakes, and yet she has daughters and sons at UNAM that she pays for. Yet she pays rent at someone's house, and she still buys food for her household and the rest of the essentials. She applies for a low-income house in Swakopmund, but she does not qualify because she does not have a bank statement, and her fat cakes are not a guarantee of being financially stable."

The group's spokesperson further accused the Swakopmund Municipality of allegedly excluding residents of the DRC informal settlement on the outskirts of Swakopmund from serviced land allocation.

"In Swakopmund, we are only relocated to clear the area that they will be selling next. They then put us in the next dirty area so that we can clean it so that they can sell it to the highest bidder."

Annalize Goases is one of the aggrieved residents. "I applied for a house in 1994. Until this moment, I kept following up with the municipality, and I was told I should just wait and they would get back to me. My name was probably deleted from the list. However, I kept a black-and-white proof of the letter to prove my application, but apparently, the person that worked on my application resigned a long time ago."

The Municipality's Chief Executive Officer, Archie Benjamin, received the petition.

"We appreciate your dedication to improving our community. We are equally here to state that most of the issues, if not all, that were raised right now are based on council decisions that have already been made and that we have started to implement since last year. Of course, the petition will be discussed at the council, but we look forward to further engaging this community on each of the issues that were raised."

The protesters gave the Swakopmund Municipality seven working days to respond to their demands.



Steven Kashekele