By Risco Lumamezi
EIGHT (8) grand children of a late businessman William Finaughty in the Caprivi strip are demanding inheritance and compensation of the land along the Zambezi river bank, which is now in dispute that is pitting them against the Government.
The grand children have been seeking for legal assistance to own the land property legally but all to no avail.The Namibian government and some private individuals have a keen interest in the plot.
In the early 1940s, the late William (Bill), who hailed from Petersburg in the then Northern Transvaal of South Africa (RSA), was posted to Kazungula, before moving to settle in the Caprivi Strip.
After a year in the service of Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (WENELA), William developed interest in trading and was granted an extensive general dealers’ site at the Katima Mulilo rapids.Williams’ businesses included a large shop, butchery, workshop for repairing motor vehicles as since he was also a mechanic by profession, carpentry workshop and owned many stores across eastern and western Caprivi.
Mr. John Finaughty said their grand father who resided at the piece of land known as Finaughty, which is now an informal compound in the outskirt of Katima Mulilo nearby the WENELA border post that borders Namibia and Zambia. The plot has caused a dispute between the late Finaughty’s grandchildren and the town’s Municipal Council, who are claiming the land belongs to them as it falls under the jurisdiction.
Despite that, other issues still on the table are the proclamations of the disputed land that has been turned into a prime land by the local government of Katima Mulilo and the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC), who are now also claiming that it has the title deed of the site structures on the land in question, as it was constructed by the corporation during the post independent era when it was still called as Bantu Investment Corporation (BIC).
According to John and Patrick , who are both appointed executors and grandsons, their late grand father’s estates has been occupied by other people without their knowledge and are demanding for the compensation of the assets which they can call their own.
“Our constitutional rights are being enjoyed by other people. We were not consulted about any commercial benefits,which would be potentially beneficial to us” said John.
“We want N$ 90 million from the government for the land. They failed even to honor our grand father by naming a street after him in the town of Katima Mulilo” he explained. Senior Special Assistant to Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba , Ms. Christine //Hoëbes told Caprivi Vision, a while ago that Pohamba was attending to their concern and hence the line ministries such as the Regional and Local Government and Housing together with the Ministry of Trade and Industry were tasked to follow the matter and to report back the outcome of the investigations.
In the letter dated February 27, 2008, the Mafwe Royal Establishment indicates that land was given to the Finaughty family.“They have been given the portion of land situated at Liselo area named Finaughty for residential and business purposes.” read the letter.
Katima Mulilo Town Council Chairperson, Charles Matengu said the land in dispute belongs to KMTC since 2005 when the delimitation commission extended the boundaries of the town of Katima Mulilo. He said the council does not have a title deed of the land property and everything should be on hold”, explained Councillor Matengu.
However, Chief Executive Officer of Katima Mulilo Town Council, Mr. Charles Nawa, is allegedly living at the plot, but claimed that he is there to look after the property as it belongs to the council. The prime plot is gazetted in 1328 by government.
Nawa claims that prior to him moving to the Finaughty plot, there was a company that was taking care of it but it proved expensive for the town coffers as it charged a monthly fee of N$ 15 000.Mr.Nawa added that the council is in the process of having a full ownership of the land by possessing the Title Deed as they are in discussions with NDC.“In exchange of the values of their properties, NDC will have to buy the plots from KMTC or KMTC can compensate them on the structures and re-sell to the public” Nawa explained.
NDC Property Manager Mr.Schalk Spangenberg, confirmed that the corporation, has ownership of the structures but declined to comment.He referred all official correspondence to the Corporate Communication Manager Mr. Vassel Nanuseb, who said he still need time to consult with other managers on the issue.