Town council accuses mining giant of rent arrears

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Town council accuses mining giant of rent arrears

The Oranjemund Town Council has accused diamond mining giant Namdeb of owing the town more than N$121 million in rent and for the sale of land.

The town council and the company had entered an agreement in 2018 for the sale of Namdeb houses and commercial properties at Oranjemund and subsequent private property ownership. Ministerial approval was granted in July 2018 for the council to sell 1 126 erven, which have been upgraded by Namdeb.

The mining giant was given until July 2019 to pay for the properties and have them transferred. Occupational rent became chargeable on properties not sold by the end of this period, and had to be paid to the council. However the council says Namdeb did not honour this agreement.

“Since 2018, Namdeb has been playing delaying tactics in negotiations with the council in resolving the payment of occupational rent in the absence of land rates and taxes. At the moment, Namdeb is running a ‘real-estate agency’ at Oranjemund, instead of running a diamond mining outlet in line with its mining licence,” said Oranjemund Town Council in a statement.

Strain development plans

This, according to the council, has put a strain on its development plans for the town and on the provision of essential municipal services. They further add that they are suspecting that Namdeb could generate a substantial income of between N$200 million and N$300 million from the sale of properties at Oranjemund.

“They refuse to donate any properties to the local authority council, claiming the council must buy properties if they want to own one. Namdeb’s unwillingness to donate the improved properties to the council is discouraging potential investors,” read the statement.

“This has also made the costs of doing business extremely high as the mining company’s rental fees are extremely high in the absence of a property ownership regime in town, as most of the properties are owned by Namdeb,” the council added.

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