WENELA Residents reject eviction order

 By Staff Reporter 

Residents of WENELA ,some 10 km away the town of Katima Mulilo near the borderline of Namibia and Zambia, have refused to vacate the area after they received eviction order from Zambezi Council.

The land on dispute is called WENELA which is part of Katima Farm is in the war of words between the former farm workers and the government.

Residents of WENELA are ready waiting for the envisaged Green Scheme Project at Katima Farm
Residents of WENELA are ready waiting for the envisaged Green Scheme Project at Katima Farm

They are accusing both Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sam­pofu and the Chief Regional Officer of Zambezi Regional Council , Ms. Regina Ndopu for inciting eviction orders without properly a locating the land to them before their removal .

They have also raised concerns and questions on three eviction letters written by the Chief Regional Officer, Ms. Regina Ndopu – Lubinda.

Angry residents want to know the jurisdiction of WENELA whether it belongs to Katima Rural or Katima Urban.

“ why the office of the Hon. Gov­ernor and the office of his Worship the Mayor so quite while people are suffering like this in the independent Namibia?” said in their letter ad­dressed to Governor Sampofu.

Residents have rejected the eviction orders instituted by Zambezi Regional Council and have therefore calling both Regional and Local Authorities to look into their situation saying they will not move or leave the area without prior alternatives.

However, Ms.Mary Simataa who have been residing at WENELA as a house wife explained to Caprivi Vision that “I arrived here in 2010 because of my husband who was working for Namibia Biofuel, after the company collapse we remained in these houses.” She said it is dif­ficult for her to vacate the house going nowhere with her school children as pointed by the Governor.

Another resident who is also a house wife, Ms.Kahundu Liswani pointed out that “I also came because of my husband who was working for Mr.Roche in 2000 and thereafter came Mr.Malan and Namibia Biofuel but we just got eviction letters from the Regional Council, he( Governor Sampofu) said also he doesn’t care whether we vote or don’t vote, he was supposed to allocate land for us before hand. We are also surprised about the white person who just arrived now, the Governor said they are going to look for her the land after we leave this place.” She requested the Governor to look into the matter equally and not discriminated and those who came first must be treated special.

“ we are not refusing to move but we want the government to show us the place where we can stay and we respect the laws of our land as we cannot occupy the land without authority ,therefore if we force squat­ting they will chase out again and the time is short for us to move out” Ms. Liswani further said.

Ms.Harriety Limbo, also added that, when one company collapsed there was other company which took over. “ but we received the eviction later from the gover­nor, we even wanted to demonstrate but things did not materialise we are lawful occupants of these houses, but the governor describes us as illegal occupants, our rights are violated. He wants to respect the person instead of us, so is this Namibia?” asked Ms.Limbo who further accused the regional Governor for not listen­ing to their concerns.

A former farm worker Mr. Charles Kamwi who grew-up there since his birth and whose father was an employee of the first white business man in the Caprivi Strip Mr.Johny Finaughty pointed out that. “We planted some of the veg­etables but we don’t have land and water, but we are buying these vegetables from Zambia whereas we have fertile land, now he wants to move us from this place at the end of the day our children will be suffering in the streets and drink Tombo, we are requesting him ( Hon. Governor ) to allocate land for us before we leave this place.”

“However we are not against development, what we want is proper consultations we are not baboons, he must respect and treat us as human be­ings not chasing us like that.” He said.

Mr.Kamwi further appealed the Regional Council to bring the Green Scheme project to them since they have skills and knowledge on how to plough some varieties of vegetables.

“Some of our kids are completing their grade 12, where does he expect them to get accommodation while attending classes this will result in them to fail or even turn into criminal activi­ties in the streets.” He stressed.

“I am Maisa Lilian we are very disap­pointed with informa­tion in the local paper ( New Era) saying that we must vacate the place, The Governor does not care whether we vote or not we are SWAPO members ready to vote, and we are here waiting for the green scheme project to start. Our parents are freedom fighters he even reminded us of Katutura incidence, when people were forcibly removed from the old location we are all here for long time. No one agreed to vacate this premises” she said.

Contacted whether the concerned resi­dents would have any share of the land from the Katima Mulilo Town Council once they are evicted, Pub­lic Relations Officer Ms. Pasval Elijah told this paper that the land in question does not belong to Ka­tima Council and it belongs to Zambezi Regional Council, and she further referred all queries to the Regional Council.

In the second evic­tion letter dated 12 March 2014 , from the office of the Chief Re­gional Officer, quoted that “ you are receiving this letter because you are unlawfully resid­ing at the premises of the Regional Council without consent. You are therefore requested to vacate the premises by 31 March 2014,fail­ure to which we will resort to forceful evic­tion. We sympasise and understand the difficulties you may be experiencing but hope you will resolve the current issue within the given time frame” noted Ms. Ndopu –Lubinda in her letter delivered to all occupants.

In the latest third eviction letter which was accompanied by a face to face meeting with the governor and his team ,The Chairperson of the Manage­ment Committee of Zambezi Regional Council Hon. Rapheal Mbala, Katima Urban Constituency Councillor Bernard Sibalatani and the CRO including the Mayor of the town of Katima Mulilo, Charles Matengu, Chairperson of Man­agement Committee of Katima Mulilo Town Council , Salubila Maswahu and KMTC CEO , Mr. Charles Nawa demanded the residents to vacate the premises on 8 June which also stated the same order.

When quizzed for feedback on the matter after June 8, deadline, Zambezi Governor Sampofu confirmed and re­sponded that “ The eviction is still there, those people are refusing to move and we are still contacting the relevant authorities… that’s all what I can say ” he said.

About 77 house holds are occupying the houses, who are claiming to be the SWAPO supporters and they need jobs an d are ready to participate in the Local Authority Elections this year.

This paper established that the land WENELA consists of different struc­tures of houses for farm workers, single quarters, office blocks, big houses at the banks of the Zambezi river which some of them have been repaired and reno­vated by the new occupants and some of the residents have been living there for quite so long and others occupied the houses recently since from 2012.

According to a Historian Scientist, Dr Bennet Kangumu in his speech on December 27 ,2010 during the 75th an­niversary of the town of Katima Mulilo was quoted by this paper that in 1939 when it was the year of the out-break of the World War 2, then the following year in 1940, WENELA shifted from Katima Mulilo in the Northern Rhodesia to the Caprivi Strip, it was recruiting people from this region to go to work in the mines in South Africa.

Significantly when WENELA shifted to Caprivi, an airstrip was made which was a link between the Caprivi Region, Windhoek, and Pretoria, that was the mode of transport either by aircraft or by boat from Katima through Livingstone to catch a train to Pretoria.

“When we talk of WENELA (Wit­watersrand Native Labour Association) most of you of course would remember the character of Mr. William Finaughty, people also referred to him as Biro Finaughty, he came here as a mechanic for WENELA but because he saw the Business potential around the area, he decided to resign and set up his own business’’.Dr. Kangumu remembered.


This paper has learned that , so far in 2012, the Land property has caused a dispute between the late Finaughty’s grandchildren and the town’s Munici­pal Council, who are claiming the land belongs to them as it falls under its jurisdiction.

Despite that, other issues still on the table are the proclamations of the disputed land that has been turned into a prime land by the local government of Katima Mulilo and the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC), who claims that it has the title deed of the site structures on the land in question, as it was constructed by the corporation during the post independent era when it was still called as Bantu Investment Corporation (BIC).

According to John and Patrick, who are both appointed executors and grandsons, their late grand father’s estates has been occupied by other people without their knowledge and are demanding for the compensation of the assets which they can call their own.

Special Assistant to Namibian Presi­dent Hifikepunye Pohamba , Ms. Christine //Hoëbes told Caprivi Vision, a while ago that Pohamba was attend­ing to their concern and hence the line ministries such as the Regional and Local Government and Housing together with the Ministry of Trade and Industry were tasked to follow the matter and to report back the outcome of the investigations.

In the letter dated February 27, 2008, the Mafwe Royal Establishment indi­cates that land was given to the Fin­aughty family.“They have been given the portion of land situated at Liselo area named Finaughty for residential and business purposes.” read the letter.

Katima Mulilo Town Council Chair­person, Charles Matengu said the land in dispute belongs to KMTC since 2005 when the delimitation commission extended the boundaries of the town of Katima Mulilo. He said the council does not have a title deed of the land property and everything should be on hold”, explained Councillor Matengu.

This is one of the Old houses constructed by BIC now NDC over the years this was made for farm workers at the time before independence. Photo by Risco Lumamezi
This is one of the Old houses constructed by BIC now NDC over the years this was made for farm workers at the time before independence. Photo by Risco Lumamezi

However, Chief Executive Officer of Katima Mulilo Town Council, Mr. Charles Nawa, is allegedly living at the plot, but claimed that he is there to look after the property as it belongs to the council. The prime plot is gazetted in 1328 by government.

Nawa claims that prior to him mov­ing to the Finaughty plot, there was a company that was taking care of it but it proved expensive for the town coffers as it charged a monthly fee of N$ 15 000. Mr.Nawa added that the council is in the process of having a full ownership of the land by possessing the Title Deed as they are in discussions with NDC.“In exchange of the values of their proper­ties, NDC will have to buy the plots from KMTC or KMTC can compensate them on the structures and re-sell to the public” Nawa explained.

NDC Property Manager Mr.Schalk Spangenberg, confirmed that the corpo­ration, has ownership of the structures but declined to comment.






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