Residents of Ondombo are up in arms over what they say are high property rentals. Many of those complaining fall under the low-income group, such as security guards, maids and shop assistants.
They say they earn as little as N$1 000 to N$1 900 but the rent has shot up to such an extent that it is now more than their salaries.
They further argue that they don’t see the reason for the frequent increases in recent years because the area is not up to standard as the buildings are old and have no separate rooms. They say they also share water points and toilets, “which are not in a good state”.
Ondombo is a settlement in Tsumeb with approximately 100 blocks of single rooms. The facility once belonged to Ongopolo mine and housed mineworkers.
As time went by people started renting rooms for N$350. At the time of the closure of the mine before Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb took over, the place was bought by Cristo Groenewald of Rubicon Security, who was once the property manager at Ongopolo.
Recently the rent increased by 10 percent with the minimum payable standing at N$750 and the highest at N$1 250, according to one of the aggrieved tenants who opted to remain anonymous.
He added that when they inquire and object to the increment they are told it’s because of municipal tariffs.
In response, Groenewald stated that he sees no need for their complaining because their rental prices are lower than in Kuvikiland informal area.
“The rent is relatively low compared to what others who are staying in the shacks at Kuvikiland are paying, whereby there are even no municipal services. So prices are not high,” said Groenewald.
He said that annual municipal tariff increments have to be taken into account, besides other costs to maintain the property.