Of Mealies, Crowing Cocks and Irate Neighbours

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Is your neighbour’s mealie plantation a sign of industriousness, or can it affect your property’s value? New Era asked around.

By Catherine Sasman

WINDHOEK

At 03h00 Eddie was woken up by the neighbour’s copper-coloured cock screaming its lungs out for no apparent reason. Angered by the unwelcome intrusion into his sleep, for the umpteenth night, Eddie phones the City of Windhoek’s police and registers his complaint.

Elsewhere, John is irritated with his neighbour’s sprouting mealies – with all the good rains recently received – and complains bitterly that the mealie plantation reverts back to a rural-like state of a city now supposed to have moved out of its provincial self.

Are these just the ramblings of grumpy old wailers or is there merit in their retorts? Some suggest that this is necessary to contain the neighbours’ activities to not only ensure some quiet and peace of mind around the house, but also to ensure that the value of your property does not plummet because your neighbour has, let’s say for argument’s sake, an affinity to pigs rolling in the mud.

City of Windhoek Police Public Relations Officer, Marx Hipandwa, says the police received innumerable complaints of this nature.

With the property market tighter than ever before in the history of Windhoek, residential property owners are becoming extremely thin-skinned of their neighbours’ behaviour – or what emanates from their neighbours’ yards – arguing that unbecoming structures might influence the value of their often most-valued assets – their homes.

And apparently, what seems to become more and more unacceptable as property prices have soared, people become less tolerant of what their neighbours keep in their yards – cats, dogs, chickens, rabbits, the ordinary grey-backed pigeon or the more exotic imported birds, or mealie fields and the like.

Windhoek residents hard-pressed by increased property prices, increased interest rates on these houses, increased food prices and other services, increasingly expect more value for their hard-earned money.

Property prices in Windhoek have shot up, particularly over the last 10 years, says property valuator, Hannelie Lofty-Eaton. A study she did for Unisa some years back, showed that residential properties in Windhoek had gone at times by 37 percent, or 14 percent, or 10 percent, or eight percent.

A house bought for N$100??????’??

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