25 March 2019

Namibia: Erindi Wants Namibians to Benefit From Sale - Namandje

Photo: Erindi Game Reserve
Erindi Game Reserve.

The company that owns Erindi Game Reserve would consider including terms that would benefit Namibians in the ongoing negotiations to sell the 65 000 hectare private game reserve, lawyer Sisa Namandje has said.

Namandje, who is Erindi's lawyer, made these remarks in response to a letter of demand that was sent to the land reform ministry by Affirmative Repositioning movement activist Job Amupanda, regarding a case in which Erindi is suing the government for about N$2 billion.

The lawyer said the company would consider some of the proposals that will benefit locals, especially those to do with the servicing of land.

The Namibian reported in 2017 that Erindi sought a High Court order compelling the government to buy the 65 000 hectare property, or to allow the company to sell the private game reserve on the open market, possibly to a non-Namibian buyer.

The company also wanted the court to review and set aside an offer of N$265 million from the land ministry to buy the property.

Documents seen by The Namibian show that the case was postponed in September last year to allow the parties (Erindi and the Ministry of Land Reform ) to negotiate a settlement.

The documents say the case will resume in the High Court this month when Namandje who is representing Erindi, will submit an amended settlement proposal.

With this in mind, AR activist Amupanda last week then wrote to the land reform minister, Utoni Nujoma, demanding that the government should include several proposals to benefit Namibians in the settlement to be agreed upon.

In his letter, Amupanda demanded that if the government allows Erindi to be sold, the prospective buyers must also

buy one farm within a 50 kilometre radius of Windhoek to be used for the establishment of a youth township to accommodate a minimum of 2 500 houses.

AR also wants the prospective buyers of Erindi to provide N$10 million to the government to be used to finalise the servicing of 300 residential plots at Goreangab in Windhoek.

In addition, the AR leader also wants whoever would buy Erindi to purchase five farms for the youth group called Youth in Agriculture for Economic Freedom (YIAEF) which had initially applied to lease the farm for 60 years.

The five farms, Amupanda said, would be used for crop production and animal husbandry, among other things.

Namandje, however, said although all of Amupanda's demands were not implementable, the company would consider some of them "if we were asked to by our negotiating partners, which is the government, and not the AR".

He added that this can only be done if the line minister brings such proposals to them.

"If the proposals are brought to us, my client will consider some of them from the bottom of their hearts, especially the issue of servicing of land. But we will wait to hear from the minister," he said, adding that the company has not yet identified a prospective buyer.

Land reform minister Utoni Nujoma was not reachable for comment yesterday.

Erindi (Pty) Ltd is the owner of farms Erindi and Constantia, 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.

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