Battle heats up to recover N$15m from Chinese mine

14 May 2020 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



After more than three years of fighting with a Chinese mine over N$15 million in outstanding payments for water and other services, the Rehoboth town council has turned to the Office of the Attorney-General (AG) for help.

According to town council CEO Simeon Kanime, Chinese African Huaxia Group has persistently denied owing the council a cent.

“We have tried as much as possible to engage the owners of the mine on several occasions. However, they have not been forthcoming to meet us.

“We requested a meeting with them late last year in Windhoek, but they responded to us through their lawyers that, in fact, they do not owe us anything. We oppose this,” he said.



Awaiting hearing date

Kanime added he has been in talks with a lawyer in the office of the AG assigned to the case, who will soon indicate a hearing date.

“They wanted to get more information from senior staff of the council, who were there at the time, and that has been submitted,” he said.

Chinese African Huaxia Group is represented by Windhoek law firm Koepp and Partners.

In December, Stefan van Zijl, who handles the matter at the firm, told Namibian Sun their client does not agree with the amount of money being demanded.

During a discussion about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local authorities, Kanime revealed they have also roped in the services of the AG to help them recoup about N$12.5 million from people who have leased townland, but failed to pay for up to 10 years.





“Townland is a hot potato in Rehoboth. The majority of those people have not honoured their lease agreements and these debts have accumulated from as far back as 10 years ago.

“We try to get these people on board, we have called several meetings. Some came and some refused, saying the land they are on does not belong to the town council, but is state land,” Kanime said.



Render unto Caesar

According to him, the council has now decided to enlist debt collectors, but with a prudent attitude that does not further burden the already financially unstable council.

“Some are claiming to have vacated the camps, but they used it and must pay whatever is due to council.”

Meanwhile, the town council owes NamPower N$129 million and N$3.5 million to NamWater.



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