Explain your land wealth… Shaningwa gets to bottom of land acquisitions at Okahandja

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Okahandja

Close to 260 individuals and businesses at Okahandja – including the town’s former mayor Valerie Aron and former Cabinet minister Kazenambo Kazenambo – have been given an ultimatum by the Okahandja Municipality, together with the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, to provide necessary documentation detailing how they acquired various plots at the town in the past five years.

The requested documentation includes copies of application letters, deeds of sale, all receipts as proof of payment and council resolutions that paved the way to grant them leave to acquire the land.

Failure to furnish the documents by end of this month may lead to the harsh reality of their having to forfeit the plots and hand them back to the municipality, which has since placed a notice in the media to that effect.

The notice and intended action are part of the ongoing investigation at the town into suspicious land deals which implicate the Okahandja Town Council in having in the past dished out plots irregularly without showing the slightest regard to getting any approval from the land minister.

The municipality has in the past been accused of flouting procedures in allocating land by giving away plots without council resolution and without placing a notice in the media listing the names of those that were to be allocated plots as required by law.

The latest action is seen by many at the town as a sweeping move to clean up a rotten house and complete the investigative report so that the business of acquiring land at Okahandja would in future be done in accordance with law.

It is not clear what sanctions would be taken against anyone proven to have acquired land illegally.

Prominent among those required to provide documentation are former youth minister Kazenambo Kazenambo, who has a sizeable plot on the outskirts of Okahandja, former mayor Valerie Aron who owns two plots at an unidentified area and former municipal chief executive officer Frans Enkali.

Enkali left Okahandja in the midst of animosity towards some members of the council and a stalled investigation of alleged “insubordination”. The ex-PLAN combatant is now chief regional officer of Oshikoto Region.

Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa made an announcement in the National Assembly last year listing land transactions with the council that involved Kazenambo, Aron and Okahandja constituency councillor Steve ‘Biko’ Booys, among others, who signed without ministerial approval.

Reports suggested that Kazenambo bought two erven measuring around 10 000 square metres for N$750 000.
But now the former youth minister-turned-businessman has been summoned to provide documentation pertaining to the purchase of plot 2355, acquired in 2013. The exact location of the property has not been revealed.

Yesterday Kazenambo refused to comment on whether he had complied with the municipality’s request – referring New Era to those requesting the proof.

“Go to them and come back to me so that we talk about it,” he said.
Aron yesterday responded: “I think it’s best if you call the municipality.”

Aron, who media reports last year indicated bought erf 466 measuring 1 800 square metres for N$92 000 in 2012, has been summoned to provide documentation pertaining to that plot, as well as erf 672 whose location has also not been revealed.

A former Okahandja councillor who has also been summoned is Andries Bezuidenhout of the United People’s Movement (UPM), who is involved in the construction business. Bezuidenhout is to furnish documentation pertaining to the purchase of erven 141, 838, 208, 2676 and 2677 – all located in Okahandja.

Bezuidenhout Contractors has been requested to provide papers regarding at least two plots.
Media reports last year suggested that the UPM politician had bought an 1 000-square metre residential plot for N$61 000.
Community activist Johannes Venter, whose erf 74 in Veddersdal suburb of Okahandja was a bone of contention when residents demonstrated last year, has also been requested to provide papers.

Among prominent businesses summoned to furnish documentation of land acqisition are prime investors at the town such as SabMiller Namibia and the only shopping complex at Okahandja, which falls under the company Okahandja Mall, owned by the Mouton family.

A notable institution also notified to provide papers is the nursing school Welwitschia University, which in 2013 was said to be linked to former health minister Dr Richard Mchabi Kamwi. – Additional reporting by Elvis Muraranganda.

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