OMUTHIYA - Weatherly Mining Namibia has promised to fast track the process of transferring a portion of land measuring more than 250 hectares to the Tsumeb municipality to help address the challenge of land at the town.
This was resolved last week Wednesday during a high-level meeting, which was convened in Tsumeb in order to seek solutions to lingering threats of land grabbing by the homeless.
Weatherly’s consultant on mining property Hans Nolte informed stakeholders that an instruction will be issued to the legal department to speed up the process of transferring land and provide a deed of sale, minutes of the meeting seen by New Era indicate that last year, Weatherly had in principle agreed to donate land to the municipality.
The municipality has been adamant to develop the area but could not do so as it was not yet legally handed over to them.
Instead, Nolte said, the whole process of transfer could take up to early next year.
“What is important is Weatherly has signed agreements with the Tsumeb council to give off certain pieces of land and it is only legal steps that need to be concluded before development could start. The whole land portion is about 600 hectares from which the Tsumeb municipal council is currently being offered 250 hectares, while other pieces have been sold on open tender to private individuals,” Nolte was quoted in the minutes.
This will be the second time that the mining group is donating land to the municipality. In 2016, the mine donated a portion of land, now known as Kuvukiland, to the municipality although this was done only after the landless had already occupied the land. The Weatherly land includes an area behind Nomtsoub suburb near Kuvukiland and some portions of Saam Staan. Discussions are also underway to rehabilitate the current west mining area in order to accommodate former mineworkers. The meeting involved members of Kaap en Bou, a land advocacy group, Affirmative Repositioning movement activists, Weatherly mining, Tsumeb municipality, regional councillors and the Namibian police. “Council and Weatherly have already established a committee to fasten the land delivery problem. Weatherly’s piece of land is in the process of being transferred and the company has promised to engage its lawyers to speed up the process. Municipal officials were tasked to speed up all processes. Therefore, let us all be patient, as this matter is being addressed,” Tsumeb mayor Mathews Hangula said. According to AR activist John Johannes, it was made clear in the meeting the transfer of land to the municipality doesn’t necessarily guarantee the land being grabbed will be allocated to them, but to all needy residents. Johannes further noted there is a huge disparity between the demands for land versus the amount of land given annually. “The number of plots is non-existence in Tsumeb when compared to the demand of land that the residents need. Council and mine owners need to work out a consistent model to solve the problem of land,” he remarked.