December 5, 2003

China to grant N$22,3m loan / Squatters struggle against senior government official

The People's Republic of China will give a loan of over N$22 million to the Namibian Government. Chinese Ambassador Liang Yinzhu announced that in general terms the loan was earmarked for either "economic and technical co-operation projects" or the "provision of general goods". Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the loan was interest-free, and to be repaid over a 10-year period, beginning in 2013. Ambassador Liang furthermore thanked Namibia for its support in international circles, particularly on the Taiwan issue, and for its willingness to host a control station for China's space programme. In the past China has given Namibia interest-free loans for the building of the new State House in Auasblick, for low-cost housing, and water projects.

In the meantime, tension has mounted at an informal settlement at Brakwater on the northern outskirts of Windhoek, where about 1.000 people are facing eviction from land owned by a senior Government official. The 50 hectare plot, Portion 8 Farm Emmarentia, became the property of the close corporation (CC) Eluwa Lwa Tenda in July, which is turn is owned by Secretary to Cabinet, Frans Kapofi. Shortly after acquiring the land, he gave the squatters six months' notice and asked them to pay rent until they leave in January 2004.

The residents, however, most of whom are employees of parastatals, businesses, and farms in the Brakwater area, are not keen to leave and rather want to buy a portion of the property in order to continue living there. Kapofi has ordered a stop to farming on his property and has asked residents to pay a monthly rent of N$45 until January next year, when he expects them to leave. Residents were also requested to stop burying their dead on the plot.

Kapofi furthermore announced that he was willing to hear requests to stay on the property on individual merit on the one side, but that he would not permit the squatter camp to grow on his property. Asked what action would be taken if people refused to leave, he said: "If they decide to occupy my property by force, that's their problem. How do you just occupy someone else's property? I will use the right I have under the law to remove those people from my property". The matter has now landed on the agenda of the City of Windhoek and the Khomas Regional Council. (The Namibian, Windhoek)


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