Katima Mulilo-Komu Auto State Hospital, a garage owned by Harris Maswahu and Likando Imwaka that specialises in repairing vehicles, is at loggerheads with its landlord, which has resulted in her removing some of the scrap vehicles from her premises.
All this started in June last year when Komu Auto was issued an eviction order by the Katima Mulilo Town Council, which stated the place they were repairing vehicles from could only “be used for business purposes such as shops, offices, business buildings, drive-in cafes, hotels and motels”.
Komu says this letter came despite the town council previously awarding them a health fitness certificate, which allowed them to operate from the area. However, it was when they wanted to renew the certificate that they were given a cold shoulder by the council.
Maswahu and Imwaka say after receiving the letter they ceased all work at the garage, and they requested the town council to provide them a place they could move their business to, but to no avail.
The landlord however wanted them to pay rental fees, despite their business being on halt.
They added that they have been paying a certain fee to the landlord, however things got out of hand and the landlord simply wanted them to move out.
“We could not take the vehicles out because we had nowhere to go, as we were still waiting for a place to operate from, which the town council had promised to give us,” said Maswahu.
“At one point when we were out of town she entered our office and confiscated some items as payment for the rental fee we were no longer able to pay her,” added Imwaka. Imwaka said that afterwards they confronted her – and it was where any love that was between them was completely lost, and they were given a week to move out.
On Saturday they were left in shock after learning that the landlord had removed 13 vehicles, which were in the workshop, and “piled them outside the premises”.
“If she just put them outside we could not be worried – but she piled them up causing excessive damage. These cars only needed minor repairs – now engines, gearboxes and windscreens have been broken, and these cars belong to our clients,” said Imwaka.
“We are young people trying to make a living and a meaningful contribution to the economy of the country. But now we have suffered a setback – we don’t know what we are going to do,” he said.
Contacted for comment the landlord, Liyan Sheng, stated that from March last year Komu had not given her a cent. She says they had an agreement to be paying a rental fee of N$5,000 monthly, but they did not pay her for 15 months, and they owe her about N$75,000. Liyan added that she told them in September to vacate the premises, but they did not listen.
“After consulting my lawyer and the police I wanted to give them one week. But they asked for three weeks in front of the station commander. September finished, October finished and November is also about to finish. I gave them enough time but they did not remove the scrap vehicles, that is why on Saturday I removed them from my premises,” she explained.
“How can you be at someone’s premises without paying anything – is it fair? I have to make money, and I need new tenants to occupy the area, but I could not do so because their scrap vehicles were all over the place.”
She added that she finally gave them a last warning in a letter dated November 1, 2017 (seen by New Era) to remove the scrap vehicles but they still didn’t do so.
The letter drafted by Sisa Namandje & Co Incorporated reads: “You are hereby given seven (7) days to remove the aforesaid scrap vehicles from our client’s premises, failing which, our client will have them removed and placed outside the yard. The costs incurred to remove them will be for your account.”
Liyan also denied accusations she had removed vehicles with engine and gearbox. “I only removed scrap vehicles without engines and gearbox – the other two with engine and gearbox, I left for them to come remove themselves,” she said