Omuthiya townland compensation deal turns sour
The dust refuses to settle between Omuthiya Town Council and residents who claim their compensation has not been settled, 10 years after the proclamation of Omuthiya as a town.
Since 2006 to date the town council has spent some N$50 million on compensation, amounting to between N$6 million and N$10 million a year.
Despite this, some residents still accuse council of dragging its feet to address the issue timeously, saying they are losing patience and that the council uses hide and seek tactics when approached.
Over 70 people are on the compensation list, most of whom are believed to have been compensated already, while the rest are still awaiting compensation, including those who claim they were not fairly compensated.
Chief executive officer of Omuthiya Samuel Mbango insists all issues pertaining to the compensation payments have been resolved and most of the affected people have been compensated.
Mbango says the complainants are those individuals who were already paid compensation, but who unfairly want to be compensated for items not listed for compensation. There is, however, no definite minimum amount for the compensation to each individual, as it is dependent on the value of the structures that were on the said land, including the improvements done. Therefore, this led to variances in the compensation process.
“We identify homesteads within the town boundaries and we list the owners afterwards. We send the list to the Ministry of Land Reform to evaluate and determine the value for each individual’s homestead. When this process is done we submit a budget list to the line ministry for approval and for the funds to be released, hence the reason why we do the payments yearly,” stressed Mbango.
Residents further accuse council of using private companies to pay some people’s compensation and question the relationship. The 82-year-old Matheus David is one such individual, who has been nagging council for compensation of N$75 000 for a piece of land he has been deprived of.
In response, Mbango said Ino Investment is a property developer, which council had entered into a public private partnership (PPP) with to service land and to compensate David.
“One of our agreements stated that if Ino Investment was willing to compensate people before we as council started compensating, it was free to do so. It is for this reason that the old man was paid from Ino investment’s coffers an amount of N$25 000, while it is still looking for the remaining N$50 000,” Mbango explained.
Affected residents want Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaaningwa to intervene and investigate the issues surrounding the compensation process.