Oniipa council enters Ondonga fray

17 February 2017 | Local News

Influential members of the Ondonga Traditional Authority who have been accused of confiscating land are reportedly also grabbing municipal land.

The Oniipa town council this week announced that town land at Onethindi and Oniipa had been seized by Ondonga King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas, his wife Cecilia, as well as village headman Oscar Sheehama.

It was reported that Onethindi, Onamungudo and Ondonga villagers wrote letters to the Ondonga Traditional Authority alleging that they were losing their land to a group of powerful people from the palace led by the king's wife Cecilia, her son Toteya Elifas, daughter Katrina Elifas, Sheehama as well as a certain Thomas Amuthenu.

The traditional authority directed senior headman John Walenga to meet with the community members and hear what their complaints were. He was informed at the meeting that their land deeds were confiscated and that their land was sold without their consent using the king's name.

The town council's CEO, Junias Jakob, said the council had observed similar cases and they had advised the culprits to cease such illegal activities immediately as it might have dire legal consequences for them.

“As per the Local Authorities Act, Act 23 of 1992, we wish to state that the land in question is the property of the council from the time it was so proclaimed. The communal land rights that existed before the proclamation were terminated when the land was so proclaimed and it became Oniipa town council land,” Jakob said.

“The communal land rights holders are however entitled to be compensated for the loss of usage of such state land and the improvements, and that is the process the council is busy with.”

Following reports on this matter in Namibian Sun, a group of people who had received land from the traditional authority approached the town council to ask what would happen to their money.

Jakob said they were not going to favour any one person because the law was very clear and the council would obviously apply the law where it is applicable.

“Communities are aware and were well informed not to get involved in illegal dealings of selling land, but it seems like some of them are ignoring the authority.

“These people that have purchased the land in question and those that are still buying land from other people who claim to be the owners of the land, the council cannot help them.

“The land that they have bought belongs to the council and they do not have ownership (title deeds) for it. Therefore, they may lose their land without being compensated,” he said.

Oniipa was proclaimed a town in 2015.

Jakob said the traditional authority and community members were fully informed of what that entailed.

However, the council continues to see illegal land sales and development without approved building plans. Some members of the community are even building without plans at sites that they proclaim as theirs.

The secretary of the traditional authority, Joseph Asino, told Namibian Sun they were not yet prepared to comment on the matter.

“Yes, we have received all the complaints and we have directed John Walenga to host a meeting with the community and the town council. Once this is completed, we will make a statement,” he said.

Jakob added that the council was servicing the township of Onethindi proper, which is comprised of 251 erven of which 195 are zoned for residential and 43 for business.





ILENI NANDJATO