SPYL prime land sits idle

31 October 2013 Author  

front SPYL 01 novFour years after the Windhoek City Council approved and allocated the sale of 30 hectares of land to the Youth Development Initiatives (YDI) consortium, nothing has been done with the land. To date the consortium have not paid a cent of the N$40,611,00.10 which the council approved as the upset price back in 2009, and have instead approached the council with a revised proposal.

In times like these where decent housing is such a scarce commodity, the allocation of land in the upmarket Academia area, has been growing weeds for almost half a decade.

The consortium consists of the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL), its business arm Donor Investments, National Youth Council business arm Bridgehead, the Science and Development group along with several other individuals.

Although the City has demonstrated goodwill towards the empowerment of the youth initiative and awarded the land under the special projects policy, the consortium appears to be struggling to fund the project.

Back in 2009 the YDI group of companies applied for 50 hectares of land, however that application was denied and it was agreed that first 30 hectars would be allocated, and that the remaining 20 could follow if the first project is successful.

It was agreed that the project would be carried out in three phases stretching over a five year period, the phases which included the layout approval, servicing of erven and then sale of erven, but the project is still stuck in the starting blocks.

However on 5 June 2013 YDI proposed a public private partnership with City, whereby they once again request the full 50 hectares of land, and in return will provide bulk services to the planned larger Venus Township.

“The detail of the PPP terms can be negotiated and agreed upon should the City agree to the proposal. YDI can be primarily compensated by off-setting the cost of providing the bulk services against price of the allocated land,” the letter reads.

The Windhoek Observer on Wednesday afternoon spoke to Elias Shanyengana the chairman of YDI and the director of the Science and Development Group.

Shanyengana confirmed that his company formed part of the consortium who had applied for the land, however remarked that the process had not yet been concluded and that it would be premature to reveal any information.

Contrary to the documents in the possession of this paper which state that the initial sale of the land was approved back in 2009, Shanyengana insisted that the deal had not gone through and that publishing this article would be damaging.

“This is an initiative by a consortium of young people, we are still in the process of finalising the deal and until I will not be in a position to answer any of your questions, but we will call you once things are finalised,” he said.

The YDI chairman was not willing to answer questions regarding who the consortium comprises of, let alone the distribution of interest/ownership in the housing development project.

The Windhoek Observer gathers that the majority ownership is under individual youth leaders, as opposed to the youth organisations they represent.

“If you do your research you could find that these same people have shares in these companies, and will naturally benefit quite a bit from a deal like this.”

“Once again we see the empowerment of individuals and not the larger youth populous,” a source said.

This paper further understands that the Special Projects Committee at the City of Windhoek did not recommend this project as a special project; however council overruled the initial decision and approved it based on the perceived merit of the application, since it will be the first of its kind in Namibia.

The land is supposed to be used to develop single housing units consisting of 3-4 bedrooms each, and town houses comprising of 2-3 bedrooms each. It has also been revealed to the Windhoek Observer that after the land has been serviced, the intention of the consortium is to auction off the land, a practice that President Hifikepunye Pohamba, has condemned.

Contacted for comment as to why the land has been idle for four years SPYL Secretary for Economic Affairs Imms Nashinge refused to comment and said that the Windhoek Observer should never call him again.

“Tell Kuvee to call the City of Windhoek and not me, I don’t speak to the Observer, don’t call me again,” he shouted before hanging up.
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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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