The Kamanjab Village Council has embarked on an intensive search for absentee owners of about 20 erven at the village. The owners have not developed the land since buying it from the council years ago.
The council has been running adverts in the media and contracted lawyers to locate the whereabouts of land owners who are deemed to be slowing down development at the village because of not developing land allocated to them. The exercise has already cost council nearly half a million dollars, officials say.
The smallest erven is 436 square metres while the largest is 1 300 square metres.
The village council debtors clerk Moses !Ganeb told New Era that about N$500 000 was paid to lawyers and the media in search of the absentee landlords. The erven are worth N$1 354 762.
!Ganeb said the village council every month gets 10 to 15 applications for land.
Council allows buyers two to three years to develop the land, or they risk the land being forfeited to council.
The absentee landlords do not pay rates and taxes, and this affects the village council’s income stream.
In 2012, Kamanjab sought the intervention of the then minister of regional and local government, housing and rural development, Jerry Ekandjo, who threatened to expropriate absentee landlords’ plots.
!Ganeb said the village council wants the erven to be developed. This is particularly so because some erven are close to the entrance of the town and give visitors a bad impression of the village.
In 2013 the village council stopped seeking legal assistance after 97 beneficiaries of the then Build Together housing programme were unable to honour their financial obligations to council.
He said that the money being used to trace the land owners could have been used for developmental projects since the town battles with high unemployment.
The New Era