Rössmund “golf estate” scandal gets corruption flavour

Swakopmund corporate services general manager, Marco Swartz, is accused of having unduly benefitted from his relationship as senior local authority official with the Developer of the now scandal-ridden Rössmund Golf Estate as well as the Rössmund Golf Course Close Corporation.

Legal documents obtained by namib times indicate that during the time Swartz was representing the Municipality of Swakopmund in negotiations with the Rössmund Developer he owned a residence at Rössmund, but was exempt from paying levies to the RössHome Owners Association. During that same period [up to now] Swartz owns the ProShop at the Rössmund Golf Club, but pays no monthly rental for the floor space he occupies.
Nine residents at Rössmund have instructed their legal representative, Advocate Richard Metcalfe, to investigate the matter. On 15 July this year in a legal letter Advocate Metcalfe, backed by material evidence, sharply criticised Swartz for having represented the Municipality of Swakopmund in matters with Rössmund, but at the same time receiving these benefits. To date he has made no reply to the allegations. Residents outright accuse Swartz of corruption in this matter and have demanded his immediate withdrawal from all dealings pertaining to Rössmund and the Swakopmund Municipality.
The matter was also referred to the Minister of Urban & Rural Development for investigation. It is not known whether the Honourable Minister has yet caused the necessary investigation to proceed.
The Rössmund Golf Estate was exposed in recent months as a property scam. The so-called Rossmund Golf Estate and the Rössmund Golf Club are two separate entities, but was sold back in 2005 as the Rössmund Golf Estate. Rössmund is an ordinary suburb of Swakopmund with residents paying rates and tariffs to the Swakopmund municipality as well as electricity billed separately by Erongo RED to account holders. Rössmund is an ordinary suburb as any other Swakopmund residential suburb, except it happens to be situ-ated next to the golf course.
An agreement between the Swakopmund Municipality and the Developer was never signed which could have provided any credibility to the golf estate idea. In fact, in 2013 an agreement was entered into between the Rössmund Golf Estate Home Owners Association and the Rössmund Golf Course Close Corporation. In such development it is admitted that no Golf Estate exists buy that it is “…an informal golf estate….”
Residents started to smell a rat several years ago. Initially they were happy to pay monthly levies to the Rössmund Golf Estate Home Owner’s Association, as a notarial bond has been registered against each Title Deed in favour of a Section 21 Company. These notarial deeds made provision for this home owner’s association and made levies compulsory as well as adherence to rules and minimum architectural and building standards. To add insult to injury the Rössmund residents were forced to use the services of only 4 selected building contractors.
However, when a large portion of the levies were paid over to the Rössmund Golf Club, owners became unhappy as the funds were needed for the upkeep of the property. Only after further investigation owners discovered their properties were never part of the Rössmund Golf Club and that the Rössmund Golf Club belonged to Rössmund Golf Club Close Corporation of which Mr Wim van der Plas is the sole member. Furthermore, the notarial bonds registered against their Title Deeds were invalid as a non-existent or fictional Section 21 Company registration number was used to register such notarial bonds.
Lawyers Malherbe and Van der Merwe are currently each facing 76 charges of fraud and theft under false pretence after they admitted to using this fictional Section 21 company registration number in the present litigation.
The implications are beyond that. A third lawyer also of the firm D.F. Malherbe & Partners, Percy van Zyl is also under investigation as he allegedly assisted van der Merwe in selling the properties. In the case of Marco Swartz, the matter was also referred to the Anti-Corruption Commission for investigation.
As with the disgruntled owners, any attempt by the Developer to rectify the matter over the false Section 21 company registration number will be opposed. An application in this regard was launched by the Rössmund Golf Course Home Owners Association in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court and the matter has been postponed for a decision as to whether the Magistrate’s Court has jurisdiction to deal with the matter.
Homeowners said they wish to normalise their lives in the suburb at Rössmund and live like ordinary citizens without restrictions over the architectural designs, payment of levies and other restrictions that comes with a Body Corporate or other types of exclusive residential control bodies.
The lawyer acting for disgruntled and unhappy owners, Advocate Richard Metcalfe, advised that owners may, at their own discretion, institute legal action against the Developer and other stakeholders to recover losses associated with the misrepresentation of Rössmund as a golf estate, and to recover monies paid to the Rössmund Golf Club Close Corporation. He also advised that as the Rössmund Golf Club Close Corporation is a profit generating entity which is a member of the Section 21 Company, the Section 21 Company is no longer entitled to operate as a non-profit entity.
No doubt this quagmire of deception and lies needs to be exposed and the Municipality of Swakopmund must take action on this fraud perpetrated upon the residents of Rössmund Township.

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