Controversial sale of SWAPO Erf gets new twist

The farce surrounding the sale of a prime piece of municipal land in Swakopmund to the SWAPO Party, has a new twist. During the recent Town Council meeting it was decided that the standard clause in the sales contract, prohibiting the further sale of the property for a period of 30 years, to prevent speculation will be drastically reduced.
Should the ruling SWAPO party decide to make a quick buck, the Swakopmund Town Council has paved the way for such. Come 21 April 2021 the party may legally sell the property where the current headquarters are located. Current property prices will allow the Party to make a huge profit – considering that the erf was bought for a token price of N$220 000 while it is valued at more than N$2 million.
The newest decision in the controversial sale of Erf 3485 measuring 4663 square meters is outlined in the agenda of the recent Council meeting. Although the party paid the purchase price in July 2016, currently there is no signed agreement in place as the political party “does not agree with the 30-years standard pre-emptive clause prohibiting the sale subject to certain conditions.”
According to the deed of sale the purchaser shall not use the property for any other purpose than for which it was bought, or sell, sublease or donate the property without the consent of the seller for a period of 30 years from the date of sale. This clause has been a headache for SWAPO, as the Secretary General, Nangolo Mbumba, voiced his concern with Council in December 2016. In this letter, he “proposes” that the clause, which “prohibits SWAPO from either rezoning, developing or selling the said plot for a period of 30 years be removed from the purchase contract.”
The pre-emptive right in Council’s favor is a standard condition which is applicable to the sale of land in various instances, be it churches, welfare organisations, schools, sport clubs or similar. “This right is mainly to prevent speculation and to ensure that the land is being used for the purpose Council approved the sale,” it states in the Agenda.
While considering the above request Council decided in SWAPO’s favor, but instead of waiving the entire period, it was decided that the 30-years pre-emptive be deducted from the period of occupation. Since SWAPO has been occupying the land since 22 April 1991 the period will expire come 21 April 2021 – thereafter SWAPO can sell the land as it pleases.
The sale of the above-mentioned erf has made media headlines numerous times due to not unfounded allegations of favoritism and corruption. Initially SWAPO was renting the property for N$10 per year (83 cents per month) with the intent to develop and maintain a self-help training centre for construction workers/artisans, but instead the erf has been serving as SWAPO’s regional headquarters though – no such “centre” was erected.
After SWAPO showed intent to purchase the prime property, a price of N$220 000 was finally determined by Daniel Nghidinua, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development. This despite the municipal value of the controversial erf – at the time – was N$1 980 000 while the market value was N$2.6 million.

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