This comes after the CEO of Witvlei Meat Henry Badenhorst earlier said that the company and the bank are nearing the conclusion of settlement discussions and that the outcome appears positive.
“I don’t want to say too much at the moment as this is a rather sensitive matter, but we are in the midst of favourable discussions with Agribank, and will make the outcome public soon,” Badenhorst said.
Iipumbu however, seemed to have no knowledge of the alleged settlement discussions.
“Absolutely not, we have not engaged in any settlement discussions with Witvlei , and in fact are not in the process of discussing or negotiating anything with them at all,” he said.
In an interview on Tuesday afternoon Iipumbu nevertheless confirmed that Agribank had not evicted Witvlei from the abattoir pending the announcement of the Supreme Court ruling on Witvlei’s second appeal.
He however, highlighted that Agribank had the prerogative to do so at any time because, according to him, Witvlei Meat currently illegally occupied the abattoir event though already served with two eviction notices by the High Court.
“They have been there illegally since 31 July 2010 when their agreement with us expired. I do not appreciate their arrogance about the matter, and we are merely waiting for the judicial proceedings to conclude,” he said.
He further remarked that under no circumstances will the abattoir close, nor will the employees lose their jobs once Witvlei Meat no longer operates the abattoir.
“Agribank is a responsible institution that will ensure that operations shall be maintained, and that no employees lose their job as a result of the eviction.”
“Witvlei should stop hiding behind the workers, and using them as an excuse to occupy the place illegally. Agribank can even go back to managing the abattoir in the interim before finding new owners,” Iipumbu said.
The Agribank CEO also stressed that the decision lies with Agribank as to whether they would choose to sell or to lease out the abattoir once it had evicted Witvlei Meat.
“We have not taken a final decision regarding whether the new occupants will rent the abattoir or have the option to buy, but once it has been put out on tender I’m certain it will take a month or less find new owners” he said.
Judge Dave Smuts in July this year ruled in favour of Agribank, after Witvlei’s appeal had lapsed due to late payment to the court to secure the appeal.
Following a failed attempt at an urgent application to the High Court to prevent the Gobabis Sheriff from carrying out the eviction, Witvlei has now requested the Supreme Court to bring forward the date of the appeal hearing in order to conclude the matter.
In the interim, the Witvlei abattoir remains open, with Witvlei Meat still managing the facility.