Grootfontein farm jackpot
The Grootfontein municipality refuses to say how much it is owed by five tenants who have defaulted on the nominal rent they are supposed to pay for townlands.
10 May 2021 | Government
The Grootfontein municipality is scrambling to collect rent from tenants who rent townlands, with some paying monthly rent as little as N$820 for a 600-hectare farm.
The farms - commonly referred to as camps - are situated in the country’s breadbasket known as the Maize Triangle.
The town’s chief executive officer, Kisco Sinvula, last week confirmed that the municipality had sent out “dozens” of letters of demand.
“The outstanding balance is classified and confidential information,” he said.
Sinvula said those who failed to pay would have to face legal consequences.
The Grootfontein council owns four farms measuring a combined 2 451 hectares, which it leases to third parties.
The local authority also leases part of Townlands 754, which measures approximately 600 hectares.
The lease agreements are valid for a year, with the option of renewal.
The lease contract, seen by Namibian Sun, states that the land may be used only for grazing.
The rent is payable monthly and increases by 10 percent a year.
One of the farms, Camp 4, measuring 500 hectares. is currently vacant while the other three camps are leased to Emilia Hauwanga, Kamehozu Kamehozu and Okanakasewa/Kaap Agri.
Kamehozu is the son of the late Otjozondjupa regional governor Raapama Kamehozu.
Townlands 754 is leased to Otto Kaura for N$2 909 a month.
Hauwanga pays N$820.27 for Camp 1 which measures 600 hectares.
Kamehozu pays N$12 219 for Camp 2 which measures 1 200 hectares, while the Okanakasewa/Kaap Agri venture pays N$22 041.26 for the 151 hectares of Camp 3.
A certain S Williams pays N$2 530 for Camp 4, which measures 500 hectares
Information on the farm leases comes at a time when the municipality is accused of maladministration and corruption.
A forensic report - which is yet to be made public - on the affairs of the town has revealed that questionable land sales and cheap leases of municipal-owned farmland are some of the reasons the town is broke.
Namibian Sun has been informed that the audit - conducted by the urban and rural development ministry - unveiled how resources were misused for self-gratification by politicians and municipal staff.
A source, who has seen the report, said the probe uncovered that there are council employees who are the direct beneficiaries of monies received from farms owned by the local authority which are leased to third parties.
“Some of the staff at the local authority managed to lease these council farms to third parties and instead of the money being paid to the local authority, they actually keep these funds,” the source charged.
The report also found that council staff have revoked land rights from people failing to pay and, without informing the defaulting client, employees would take this land.
This, the source said, is why the local authority has been failing to deliver services to Grootfontein residents who, over the years, have seen their land being grabbed by outsiders and basic services like water and waste collection becoming massive challenges.