2 March 2018

Namibia: City Cancels Lease Over Use of Sewage Water in Garden

THE City of Windhoek on Wednesday cancelled a non-profit organisation's lease after it found that the centre was using sewage water for growing vegetables.

Mwetulamba Shingenge-Haipinge, who is the Centre for Restoration and Transformation's managing director, said she was not aware of the council resolution, or the cancellation of the lease.

According to council documents, the centre that occupies a portion of erf 3192 at Goreangab extension 4, is a non-profit organisation, which has been leasing the land since 1995.

The sewage water the centre allegedly uses overflows from the Goreangab Dam.

This is despite the fact that the centre has access to treated water, which they do not want to use because they want to cut costs. The council resolved that the lease to Shingenge-Haipinge's centre should be cancelled within 30 days from the date of the resolution.

Should the centre fail to vacate the premises within 30 days, a court order may be issued to compel the implementation of the resolution.

"The lessee failed to discontinue the usage of the effluent water on the vegetables, which are unfit for human consumption.

"The results received from the analytical laboratory indicated that the faecal coliform MPN/100 millilitre is high, and the laboratory advised that the untreated effluent water not be used for irrigation purposes," the council stated. Following Shingenge-Haipinge's 2012 application for permission to include more job-creating activities such as harvesting sand, slate stones cutting and set up a brickmaking project at the erven, the city investigated their vegetable garden.

Some media reports back in 2012 had carried concerns expressed by the workers at the centre that the water was unsafe for use, but this complaint was dismissed by the council.

In its response on 26 April 2016, the municipality informed Shingenge-Haipinge that a technical investigation had been conducted, and it was found that the centre was still using faecal water to irrigate the vegetable garden.

The city in the same letter warned that should the matter not be rectified within seven days, the council would cancel the centre's lease.

According to council documents, the centre continued to use the same water with their partner through the Chinese Agricultural Project, instead of paying for normal water supply.

The findings by the city's health department indicated that samples of the water taken for testing at a laboratory confirmed the presence of faecal matter.

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