By Anna Ingwafa
A part of Helao Nafidi at Oshikango, bordering Angola, is on the verge of being sold completely to Chinese business people and could bear a new name “China Dragon Town” according to the Senior Headman of Oshikango, Julius Shilunga.
Jack Xuang, a Chinese tycoon, bought a large part of Oshikango from individual business people with the intention to have the area entirely turned over to Chinese businessmen.
The deal prompted Shilunga to call an urgent meeting with his subordinates in the area to discuss and clarify the ownership of land by foreigners.
Although there was no official from the Helao Nafidi Town Council, the headman felt the move is not good for the town.
Shilunga said most prominent Namibian business people have already sold their pieces of land to Chinese business people.
Another issue of concern to the headman is the sale of a dam, on whose water the village and even cattle rely.
The senior headman and his team agreed to take up the matter with the Ouakwanyama Traditional Authority.
Helao Nafidi Chief Executive Officer, Chris Shivolo, told New Era that the allegation that Xuang has bought a portion of Oshikango is unfounded.
China Dragon, according to Shivolo is a big shopping centre that is being built by the Chinese just like any other business at Oshikango.
The CEO explained that a big chunk of land where China Dragon is being built was bought while under the regional council way before the proclamation of Helao Nafidi as a town.
Shivolo said the majority of foreigners that own land at Oshikango bought it from local business people who sold the land so that they could have money to make ends meet and are just tired of business.
“We as town council cannot interfere in personal business transactions,” he claimed.
On the dam, Shivolo is adamant that the idea to sell the dam and its surrounding is a good move. The town council sold the dam because the dam is a health hazard to both Namibians and Angolans.
He added that many people have drowned in that particular dam while some locals used it to bath and this forced the town council to sell it.
An official at Helao Nafidi who spoke on condition of anonymity said most of the local people receive lucrative deals from foreigners and they keep on buying more land for these foreign business people.
He said the Helao Nafidi Town Council’s hands are tied when it comes to foreigners buying land from locals.
“We fulfil the ministry of land’s policy that stipulates that 70 percent of land ownership should be given to Namibians and 30 percent to foreigners. But what the Namibians do is that foreigners pay them huge sums of money (for the land) and keep on coming to the town council to buy more land for them (the foreigners). What we get here is a letter for transferring the land to the other person.”
On many occasions when Namibians approached the town council to buy land and were advised to have shares in whatever was being established, they would not take the advice.
Rather, they went for the money without thinking about the repercussions according to the official.
When business people in the north met with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hage Geingob, recently at Eenhana, he requested a moratorium on all sale of land to foreign nationals so as to allow for national dialogue and a round table to discuss the question of land.
The town of Oshikango is near the Angolan border.