Municipality of Walvis Bay’s “questionable” waterfront deal

Floris Steenkamp

Original agreement changed at Deeds Office – land does not have to be returned to municipality after Afrikuumba Joint Venture expires in 50 years…………………..

By the single strike of a pen, the municipality of Walvis Bay in 2018 lost 80 % of its ownership in two plots (4939 and 4941) in the lagoon suburb earmarked for a waterfront development. The municipal swimming pool and cricket fields are currently situated on these two plots respectively.

The two plots were registered in the name of a Joint Venture company, Walvis Bay Waterfront Properties, in which the Walvis Bay municipality holds a 20 % stake and Afrikuumba Construction, owned by businessman Titus Nakuumba, holds an 80 % stake. A formal agreement is in place which stipulates the Joint Venture would only be in existence for a period of 50 years. After the 50 years period the Walvis Bay municipality’s ownership of the two plots with improvements would be fully restored.
In what is regarded as highly questionable now, it was dis-covered this week the then Chief Executive Officer of the Walvis Bay municipality, Muronga Haingura, in 2018 signed a bond cancellation to scrap this condition against the title deed that the land has to be returned to the municipality after 50 years.
Officials at the municipality of Walvis Bay are now scrambling to locate a copy of the Joint Venture Agreement and various council resolutions that could shed light onto the decision to alienate the land permanently.
The town council also recently indicated it wants to pose a number of questions to Afrikuumba Construction with regard to the status of the waterfront project. After the latest discovery of the bond cancellation, the scope of questioning is expected to broaden beyond Afrikuumba Construction to the municipality as to how the previous Swapo-led town council and officials handled the matters around the waterfront development.
Haingura serves on the Board of Directors of Walvis Bay Waterfront Properties and so does the municipality’s General Manager for Community and Economic Development, Agostino Victor. Both are currently on suspension for alleged financial irregularities at a Government-funded low-cost housing scheme which had to be administered by the municipality of Walvis Bay. The other suspended officials are the municipality’s property manager Jack Manale and housing official Constance Summers.
In what follows below is in chronological order, the events that followed since Council adopted in principle a Joint Venture with Afrikuumba to develop a waterfront up to the latest discovery of alleged irregularities:
*On 16 July 2013 Council adopted a resolution to approve in principle a Joint Venture with Afrikuumba Construction for a waterfront development in the area where the municipal swimming pool, an adjacent park, the cricket club, and tennis club are currently situated.
*On 17 December 2013 Council held an Extraordinary Council meeting in which the Joint Venture Agreement (JWA) was approved. It was further resolved that the municipality of Walvis Bay contribute the two plots to the Joint Venture. At the time the land’s estimate value was N$80 million.
In this same meeting it was further resolved the shareholding of the municipality in Walvis Bay Waterfront Properties would be 20 % and Afrikuumba Construction 80 %. The Joint Venture would be for a period of 50 years, whereafter the municipality would again become the sole owner of the land.
*On 22 July 2015, the Minister of Urban and Rural Development granted approval for this Joint Venture. Although the minister granted approval in mid-2015 for a Joint Venture, it must be noted at this point that Walvis Bay Waterfront Properties (Pty) ltd was already established in 2013 (company registration number: 2013/1138).
*Plots 4939 and 4941 was registered in the name of Walvis Bay Waterfront Properties (Pty) ltd on 13 October 2016 (title deed number T6238). The conveyancer was the law firm Ellis Shilengudwa Incorporated (ESI).
*A number of conditions were registered against the title deed, one of which was that the land would revert back to the municipality of Walvis Bay after a period of 50 years.
*On 4 September 2018 the condition to return the land to the municipality of Walvis Bay was cancelled by a bond cancellation signed by Muronga Haingura (Bc5996).

You must be logged in to post a comment Login