City Plot Deal Irks Regional Council

THE Khomas regional council has criticised the Windhoek municipality for selling a prime plot for N$5 million without consulting the nearby community, while rejecting a rival N$20 million offer.

Revelations of dissatisfaction about the land deal come six months after The Namibian reported that a company threatened to seek an interdict from the courts to stop the sale of the land “should the city decide to go ahead with the sale despite valid objections”.

The Khomas regional council, Katutura East constituency, Prime Vision Properties and Investments, the Highlands Assembly of God and Jell Platinum Investments, had objected to the deal.

Councillor for Windhoek West constituency Shikwetepo Haindongo complained that the municipality had sold the plot without consulting the residents.

Haindongo said the residents preferred a rival N$20 million offer by Prime Vision Properties and Investments because they promised to build a medical centre and donate a “fully equipped clinic and ambulances to the community”.

“I would, therefore, call upon the City of Windhoek to stop this planned alienation and start a proper consultation process by which constituency involvement and input should be sought for effective community participation,” Haindongo said.

What peeved the residents more was that the municipality sold the plot two months after it had turned down applications for the same plot saying it had been auctioned off.

The Namibian has, in the past, reported about well-connected individuals acquiring prime land at relatively cheap prices from local authorities through private sales while ordinary people often have to rely on public auctions to get residential land.

Bidders for the plot were Ekwao Properties, Paragon Investment Holdings, Perfect Properties, Rise Leadership Academy, Prime Vision Properties and Investments and Visionvest Namibia.

The plot along Sam Nujoma Drive close to Orban Primary School in Hochland Park was sold to Ekwao Properties, owned by Joel and Emily Shafashike, who had started enquiring about the plot in 2007.

The company was backed by businessman Festus Lameck, who together with the Shafashikes, “aspire to establish themselves as property developers”.

According council documents, the Shafashikes said they plan to set up a development that would be known as Kakurukaze Mungunda Square as a reminder of the forced removal of blacks from that area in 1959.

Anna Kakurukaze Mungunda was a Namibian heroine killed in 1959 in Windhoek during the uprising against the colonial South African regime.

Another institution that that has been trying to get the same plot for more than 20 years is the Highlands Assembly of God which runs Highlands Christian Primary School close to the plot.

Reverend Johannes Haihambo, a senior pastor, said previous attempts to get the land to expand their operations, had been rejected.

“As a church, we therefore formally applied for the acquisition of the property from the City of Windhoek to afford us the opportunity to further develop our school ,” he said.

The award-winning school has more than 320 pupils from Grade One to 10 and employs 24 teachers.

Chairperson of Jell Platinum Investments Lincoln Moses also opposed the sale of the land for residential purposes saying the municipality should consider a students village, since there is a shortage of accommodation for them.

He proposed that the “Dr Abraham Iyambo Students Village” be built at the plot since it is already close to the house of the late former education minister.

Prime Vision Properties and Investments last year threatened to go to court if the municipality decided to go ahead with the sale.

The firm wrote to the municipality warning that they should afford all bidders a “fair chance and opportunity” to present their proposals.

“Should the city decide to go ahead with the sale despite valid objections, we hold instruction from our client to approach the High Court of Namibia to intervene and stop the process,” said their lawyers.

Municipality spokesperson Joshua Amukugo did not respond to inquiries on what the municipality will do about the objections and threats of legal action.

Source : The Namibian