TSUMEB – After failing to evict occupants from a pre-colonial accommodation facility known as Endombo compound at Tsumeb, the owner Christo Groenewald has now offered the government to buy the place for N$17 million or proceed with the eviction of hundreds of the residents.
Groenewald repeated attempt to evict the tenants has attracted attention from politicians, government officials and community activists who have objected to the idea of evicting people from the place.
The eviction came as a result that residents refused to be paying their rental fees, arguing that Groenewald was not the legitimate owner as well as bemoaning the dilapidated state of the facility.
After years of protracted negotiations, the property owner decided to approach the courts to be granted an order to evict non-complying tenants. Groenewald suffered another blow when the scheduled eviction of over 180 tenants for the 7th December 2020 was called off two days before due to third party interventions.
The process was halted until the end of January 2021, while the parties try to find an amicable solution. Groenewald said he is being victimised over the issue, hence his last resort will be government to purchase the property.
“I am being victimised here, so my property is valued at N$17 million, therefore, if the government can agree to this including covering all my outstanding rental fees as well as legal costs, I will happily sell the place because it’s been a headache for me as well. Other than that, come January 31, if there is no solution, I will proceed to evict the over 180 people,” he told New Era in a telephonic interview.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, Frans Kapofi has told this publication that the issue of Endombo has been tabled in parliament to discuss how it can be expropriated in the best interest of the people and owner considering the historical connotation to it.
“I said this before when addressing a Swapo rally in Tsumeb, that the issue is being looked at. So, if the owner is willing to sell the place that should be fine and it will be for the government now to discuss the purchasing so that it can be part of Tsumeb municipality. Our fathers stayed there, so for one to come and privatise the property at the expense of the masses is not practical,” stressed Kapofi yesterday.
He added, that Cabinet will pronounce itself on the matter in due time. John Puleston, the deputy sheriff of J.A Puleston, is administering the eviction. In court papers, earlier this year, Groenewald testified that “as at 6 May 2020, the total outstanding unpaid rental owed by the defendants stood at N$684 360 and the amount increases with N$17 000 per month. At the moment, he is roughly owed over N$800 000.