Havana 6 squatters

What is affected
Housing private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 02 January 2009
Region AFA [ Africa anglophone ]
Country Namibia
Location Havana 6, Windhoek

Affected persons

Total 400
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution

Forced eviction
Land losses

- Land area (square meters)

- Total value
Housing losses
- Number of homes
- Total value €

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative

Squatters Hit Back at Windhoek Municipality

Denver Isaacs, The Namibian


A group of illegal squatters living in Windhoek’s Havana informal settlement, and who have since the beginning of the year been subjected to evictions and the demolitions of their makeshift homes, will today attempt to strike back against the municipality.

The Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) is expected to apply for an urgent application in the Windhoek High Court this morning, where it will challenge the municipality’s right to evict the approximately 400 illegal tenants living on plot 1807 Havana Extension 6.The LAC is attempting to have the “Squatters Proclamation”, a 1985 law that allows the owner of a land to remove illegally constructed buildings or structures without the authority of a court order or prior notice to the occupants, proclaimed unconstitutional.

They are appealing to the court to consider their circumstances living with small children, not having alternative housing, and the winter cold under which some of the already evicted have been forced to survive.

The decision by the group to take the legal route was apparently reached during a community meeting held on Sunday, amid City Police officers who were removing more shacks in the area.

Today’s show in court is expected to follow a march to the High Court from the Havana settlement in Katutura.

The city has been on a concerted effort to remove squatters from various empty plots around Windhoek, including Havana and the recently cleared Otjomuise Sewende, Agste and Neende Laan among others.

But while the municipality reasons that squatters should stay off the land until they can be served as per a municipal waiting list, illegal settlers argue that they cannot be expected to wait that long.

“We admit that we erected our respective structures without consent or authority of the second respondent, but we are desperate for some form of housing. Many of us have applied for housing from the (municipality) as far back as the year 2000, but to date I am yet to be informed … of any available plots,” one of the applicants, Petrus Shaanika, stated in a founding affidavit to be handed in at court today.

The group further criticised a recently held City of Windhoek housing auction, which Shaanika said the going prices of as much as N$150 000 to N$230 000, were “completely out of reach” for the Havana residents.

Most of the illegal occupants moved to the area since November last year, and say they moved there as a last resort in trying to ensure a roof over their heads.

Shaanika says he himself lived, with his family, at extended family in Katutura.“However, due to the escalating costs of paying rent and the fact that it became uncomfortable and intolerable to reside with another big family, my family of eight people and I immediately moved to Havana 6 when we learned that other people have moved there and started to construct their shacks,” he states.

The City’s ongoing operation against illegal occupants on its land last week resulted in protest from opposition parties and even central Government, and saw warning shots being fired on Tuesday, when residents of Otjomuise’s Agste Laan attempted to oppose them.

The City’s answer to critics has throughout been that the land needs to first be made suitable for human habitation, with ablution facilities and streetlights among other services to be set up in the various locations.


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