Committee established to investigate Omuthiya compensations

OMUTHIYA - As the dust refuses to settle on the compensation issue between the Omuthiya Town Council and community, the Minister of Urban and Rural Development Dr Peya Mushelenga has resolved to set up a committee to investigate the matter thoroughly.

Mushelenga noted there are a lot of underlining issues that will need to be investigated, and thereafter the final outcome and recommendations will be presented.

But he noted that there is confusion and misunderstanding of the policy.

Yesterday he shot down and clarified a number of demands when he met over 200 unhappy community members who feel they were unfairly compensated when they ceded their land to pave way for township development.

Furious community members complained about unfair compensation in monetary terms and plots, arguing there have been inconsistencies whereby some got more money and two plots, and that they were paid peanuts.

There are two options when compensating � as a landholder you have a choice to choose to get plots or you are entirely moving from town and your choice determines what you are likely to get. So, what this means is that, if you choose to form part of town, you will be given two plots. However, the cost of these plots will be deducted from the total amount that you should have been compensated, then you get the difference. Thus, this brings in a variation in the funds paid between a person who opted to entirely move from town and one who chooses plots, explained Mushelenga.

He also said it is not government's duty to look for a resettlement area for people that are compensated. You have been paid, so you have the means to seek a place on your own where you can reside, he added.

Mushelenga further said government does not compensate for land but for properties and improvements made on the land, although this did not rest well with the community.

There is no adjustment on payments that can be made to those that were compensated based on an old policy, under the revised policy. It's unfortunate if the rate was less than what people are getting now, that is the era of things, stressed Mushelenga when responding to community activist leader Moses Amukoto who presented the demands on behalf the public.

Amukoto was further advised to approach relevant authorities that deal with corruption when there is a sign or an act of suspected exploitation.

Meanwhile, Omuthiya CEO Samuel Mbango said some demands were irrelevant and were as a result of misinterpretations of the compensation. He informed the public that most of the plots under compensation have been approved, therefore urging the community to come forth and sign the transfer and ownership documents.

Mbango also said council does not determine the value of the land but the land reform ministry does it, hence council only follows what is documented and approved by the relevant authorities.

In terms of delays in issuing plots, Mbango said there are procedures to be followed and it sometimes takes a long time to be approved as it passes through various channels before the final approval. For some time the CEO has placed the blame on the community for not coming forth to collect and sign documents.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia