The owner of the contested Endombo compound in Tsumeb, Christo Groenewald, has said that he is likely to evict 20 more family members if a condonation application brought at court is heard and fails.
The application has been brought by the Endombo community while, this week, an eviction order has already seen 40 families on the streets.
Groenwald has been up in arms with an estimated 200 families, some of which ceased paying their rentals arguing that he was not their landlord and owner of the hostel.
Speaking to Eagle FM this week, the owner has claimed that, all in all, he is presently owed N$8 million in unpaid rentals.
“There is a condonation application that they have lost, well, which in my opinion it will fail in any case because they have not complied with certain regulations. But just because of the fact that they have lost an application and we wait for the date that the application is heard in court, according to the rules, we must suspend all action.”
“But I am quite sure the eviction of the 20 will follow because they have not complied with any rules of the court. But we have to wait for the court to express itself regarding this application,” he said.
Dozens of families have seen themselves in the open with their furniture as the police reportedly sealed off the compound from their access.
The community has been represented by a number of political parties and activists before in a bid to stop the evictions.
A deal to sell the compound to government to the tune of N$30 million ended up being dead in the water after the amount was considered too high.
The ongoing battles between the community and the owner reached a boiling point to an extent that Groenewald lost access to his property at one time.
“They needed to be disciplined and I think also that my property rights needed to be respected. I feel very sorry for the children and the women and even the men who have been misled by these so-called committee members who lied to them all the time. Since yesterday, Tuesday, some of these evicted people came running to my office asking for mercy,” he said.
In the meantime, the Workers Revolutionary Party’s (WRP) Hewart Beukes has consistently argued the property does not belong to Groenewald.
“The Tsumeb community has risen in indignation at the disregard for their rights and dignity, including blatant racism. Monday, 29 August 2022, a contingency of police from Omuthiya that had no jurisdiction in Tsumeb pushed the Tsumeb police aside and shed the blood of leaders of the Old TCL Hostel community of 3500 men, women, and children.”
“This morning they returned to continue their assault. Many families have been cast out in the sewers and streets surrounding the hostel. This happened while the dispute around the ownership of the hostel, the putrid conditions in which people are forced to live, the fraudulent orders of court, and the openly forged warrants of eviction, are pending in the Supreme Court of Namibia,” he said.
However, Groenewald has blamed the community’s representatives for having taken money from the residents and disappeared after the evictions.
“I am not angry at them, but this exercise should have taken place so that the people can understand that the government cannot allow the unruly behaviour of a few people who took their money, these committees collected money in their pockets. They have not kept records and they kept this money from the residents and they are not on the streets. I told them it’s not me who caused the problem, it is you have not been paying me. These committees, you do not see them anywhere now, but they were the ones who caused this trouble,” he said.