Family Wants N$3 Million to Leave Land

TWO Ondangwa siblings are refusing to move from land that has been taken over by government for the construction of houses in Extension 10 at the northern town.

Although government, through the ministry of urban development, has offered one of the siblings N$326 977 and the other N$623 800, the council lawyer said they are demanding N$3 million.

However, Johannes and Hosea Shahangwapo, whose homesteads are affected, said they just want the government to measure their land properly and pay them accordingly.

There were 63 families on the land in 2009 and all but the Shahangwapos have accepted compensation from government that has paid out a total of N$18 million.

Since 2009, the family has been trying to stand its ground refusing to accept monetary compensation and also refused an offer to keep the land as part of the township.

A letter from the family’s lawyer (at the time), Saima Nambinga from Angula Coleman, wrote to the council’s lawyers, Lorentz Angula, that the land in question measures 356 476 m2 and that government has offered N$326 977 as compensation.

The Ondangwa town council on Tuesday said the family was also offered 3 293 m2 if they opted to stay and be incorporated into the township.

A construction company, Namib Bou, has already bought the land from Ondangwa and has started building houses, but the families have been putting up resistance.

The stand-off has landed in the Windhoek High Court after the municipality opened an urgent case against the two families for interfering and preventing Namib Bou from building houses on the land.

The hearing was heard on 19 September 2014 by Justice Hoff, who ruled that the Shahangwapo family, should not interfere with construction thus allowing Namib Bou to continue its building project.

Ondangwa municipality lawyer Lorentz Angula said the two families were given option of relocating elsewhere in addition to the compensation, or accepting a plot from the municipality to remain where they are but it will not be developed for them.

Johannes Shahangwapo told The Namibian that there has been no dialogue between him and the municipality, and that he was surprised to see contractors start building. He said they have built about 35 houses now.

Shahangwapo, who is part of the 395 people who received national honours from former President Hifikepunye Pohamba on contributing to the liberation of Namibia, said he stopped the contractor from destroying his field until an agreement on compensation was reached between him and the Ondangwa town council.

“I refused to sign because I do not know how they measured. They agreed to come and do proper measurements, even (former chief executive officer ) Martin Elago knew but they never showed up,” Shahangwapo said, adding that they have so far offered him three amounts.

“I will not leave the way they want me to. I want them to stop building and then we measure properly. I want the minister to intervene, and Elago promised me that I would get a plot equal to a football field. Since 2009 we have not cultivated yet that is how me and my children, five of whom are still in school, survive,” he said.

Shahangwapo was arrested on 11 May 2015 and released on 13 May 2015 on bail of N$1000 for disturbing construction work.

Angula said the family wants the cemetery surrounding their households which he says will not be possible as it forms part of the communal land.

Angula said the family should understand that the stand-off is between government and them. This he says does not involve the municipality as well as Namib Bou.

Government compensation policy indicates that affected landowners should be helped to choose a compensation option they consider to be fair. This, the family argues, has not been done as they do not agree with the amount offered to them.

“In cases where no land of similar size is available, the landholder shall be provided with reasonable land. Town residential erven measuring at least 500 m2 are to be transferred to the occupants name free of charge,” the policy says.

The municipality argues on basis that the Namibian Constitution provides for the expropriation of property by the State or any competent body authorised by law in the “public interest”, subject to payment of just compensation and which compensation should be in accordance with the requirements and procedures determined by an Act of Parliament.

However, Angula told The Namibian that there is currently no Act of Parliament on communal land, thus government is guided only by the compensation policy.

Source : The Namibian