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Lebanese businessman, farmers cross swords

2021-05-28  Roland Routh

Lebanese businessman, farmers cross swords
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Lebanese businessman Fadi Ayoub is back in court, this time to ask the High Court to restore his “peaceful and undisturbed possession” of an access road to his farm between Windhoek and Rehoboth. 

This came after the owner of the farm through which an access road run put up fences and dug a trench in the road.

He is further asking the High Court to order that all obstacles, including the fence, be removed plus costs for the application.

The respondents are Anetjie Alberts, the owner of Farm Platsand through which the access road run, her son Wilbert Alberts and Pedru Diergaardt. Also cited is the station commander of Groot Aub police station and the inspector general of the Namibian Police as interested persons.

According to an affidavit filed by Ayoub, he was at all material times in free, peaceful, undisturbed possession, control and the use and enjoyment of the access road for the past 28 years since he and Wilbert signed a usufruct agreement in 1993. He further claims that in pursuance of the agreement, he constructed a permanent road and erected corridor fences at a cost of N$650 000.

The businessman claims that on 16 May, he arrived at the entry point to his farm and realised that the corridor leading to the entry was closed off with fencing all around and upon enquiry from Wilbert was informed that Anetjie ordered the closure of the corridor. According to Ayoub, he agreed with Wilbert that the fence would be removed which he subsequently did.

However, Ayoub said, when he returned to the road on 19 May, he encountered at least 30 people armed with machetes and shovels. As he feared for his life, he drove through a fence and when he attempted to re-enter the corridor, the people started rolling big rocks into the road.

According to Ayoub, the sudden change in circumstances have been occasioned by his refusal to allow other farmers access through his other farm.

Anetjie and Diergaardt lodged opposition papers to the application, however, efforts to get a comment from them proved unsuccessful.

Ayoub, who has been a thorn in his neighbours’ flesh for a long time, is described by new Windhoek Rural councillor, Piet Adams as “well-connected”. 

“We tried to take him on. Even with police, you won’t get far,” said Adams. 

His advice to Ayoub’s neighbours is “the only way to take him on is through the courts.”

A statement by the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) claims that Ayoub summarily dismissed four families who were hired to work on his second farm, some 30km north of Rehoboth, without pay and that he withheld their belongings. 

It further said Ayoub “arrogantly claimed” that he is a Swapo member and there is nothing the workers or regional councillor Adams can do to

On 20 March, members of the Namibian Police had to be called in to mediate after Ayoub, again, blocked inhabitants of communal farms in the area, from using a minor road passing through his farm. A two-hour meeting with police, councillor Adams and farmers achieved little.

He chased the councillor and the workers from his property and called the police, the statement reads. It is also stated that he bragged that Sisa Namandje is his lawyer and they “will see”. 

The urgent application will be heard today by Windhoek High Court Judge Thomas Masuku.

2021-05-28  Roland Routh

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