The owner of Endombo compound at Tsumeb, Christo Groenewald, has renewed calls to evict defiant tenants, saying the failed protracted negotiations in finding an amicable solution over non-payment of rental has caused great financial losses on his part. The imminent eviction will see the residents being accommodated at Oscar Norich sports field while the local municipality seeks to find alternative land.
Failed options included government purchasing the property, or for the residents to pay rental fees of N$100 while a long-lasting solution is being devised. Government indicated interest in purchasing the precolonial property, but there are no funds to procure the property, which is valued in excess of N$17 million.
Tenants have in the last three years struggled to pay rent.
Groenewald last month in a letterinstructed the messenger of the High Court to proceed with three eviction orders granted by the High Court and the Tsumeb Magistrate’s Court.
Twenty of the orders were issued in the Windhoek High Court and another 20 in the Tsumeb Magistrate’s Court, including a further 19 for trespassing.
“I am aware that these evictions will not be conducted in one day’s time. I, therefore, request you to commence with the High Court orders. The delays caused by the series of meetings have caused prolonged suffering of my financial position. Therefore, please treat this as a priority,” said Groenewald in a letter dated 23 March.
“I will also proceed to obtain eviction orders against all remaining non-paying tenants, meaning that you will have to eventually evict all residents from the premises.” More than 3 000 people are said to be living at the compound. According to Groenewald, this was the last resort, as meetings held between the Tsumeb municipality and the police, and tenants have failed to produce any solution over the pending evictions, which had been preliminarily suspended following third party interventions.
The bone of contention is that the tenants have been refusing to pay rent on the Endombo property, claiming Groenewald is not the legitimate owner.
This is despite a High Court ruling in favour of Groenewald.
Various political groupings, including central government, have joined the fray to try and absolve the situation but residents have consistently maintained they will not pay any rentals.
Councillor for Tsumeb constituency Gottlieb Ndjendjela, who is the committee chairperson, said there is a place already serviced where some soon-to-be-evicted tenants would be accommodated at a later stage once all nitty-gritties have been finalised.
“There is also a place behind Endombo, which is earmarked for allocation but needs to be serviced to complement the already completed extension. So, this can either happen before or after the residents have been evicted.
“We have so far a temporary place at the sports field while we work on permanently settling the people,” said Ndjendjela.
Asked whether these will be free plots, he said: “There is nothing like free plots; if that is done, it means the whole country should be given land freely. This allocation process will include applicants already on the waiting list.”