Windhoek — Cabinet announced that government has scrapped plans to buy Erindi Private Game Reserve due to a lack of financial resources.
This was revealed by Information and Communication Technology Minister Stanley Simataa when he announced the Cabinet briefings last Thursday.
The announcement comes at a time of a court battle between Erindi Private Game Reserve and government over the pending sale of the 65 000-hectare game farm.
Erindi last year applied for a court order declaring that a written agreement exists in which the government bought the company for N$1.92 billion.
Alternatively, it wants an order declaring that the minister had declined the company's offer to sell to the government, and that Erindi is now entitled to a waiver in terms of which the agricultural land it owns can be sold to a private buyer.
It further wants the court to declare that Erindi is entitled to market and sell itself as a going concern - also to non-Namibian potential buyers.
However, Simataa said Cabinet took note that the government has no financial resources to acquire Erindi Private Game Reserve and the farms that constitute the game reserve are not suitable for resettlement purposes.
Therefore, Simataa on Thursday revealed that Cabinet, in the light of the above, authorised the Minister of Land Reform [Utoni Nujoma], in consultation with the Attorney-General, to negotiate an out-of-court settlement with the owners of Erindi game farm in the best interest of the government of the Republic of Namibia.
Erindi (Pty) Ltd is the owner of farms Erindi, Constantia and Otjimukaru, situated between Okahandja and Omaruru, on which the Erindi Private Game Reserve has been established on a tract of land measuring some 65 000 hectares.
Equally, Simataa noted that Cabinet took note that in terms of Article 16 of the Namibian Constitution, all persons shall have a right in any part of Namibia to acquire, own and dispose of all forms of immovable and movable property, individually or in association with others, and to bequeath their heirs or legatees: provided that Parliament may by legislation prohibit or regulate as it deems expedient the right to acquire property by persons who are not Namibian citizens
Simataa also announced that Cabinet further took note that the Land Acquisition and Development Fund (LADF), established under Section 13 of the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act, 1995 (Act No. 6 of 1995) cannot, by law, be used to purchase a non-resettlement farm.
Erindi Private Game Reserve is one the largest privately-owned game reserves in Southern Africa and represents the greatest collection of African wildlife held in private hands.
Erindi is home to over 90 mammalian species, including elephants, lions, giraffe, black rhino, white rhino, leopards and cheetah.
In addition to mammals, Erindi also hosts 300 endemic bird species, 43 reptile species, 40 snake species, 10 amphibian species, 13 arthropod species, and 104 known insect species.