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Gobabis mayor, governor bypass minister in land donation

Written by on June 10, 2024

Gobabis mayor Melba Tjozongoro and Omaheke governor Pijoo Nganate allegedly made a land donation deal involving a 250ha farm without ministerial and council approval.

The Local Authorities Act states that donations should get prior approval in writing from the minister of urban and rural development, Erastus Uutoni and the regional council.

Tjozongoro and Nganate allegedly bypassed the council and Uutoni during a meeting on 11 July 2023.

The governor in a letter indicated that the land in question would be used for a food production garden project.

In a letter written to the mayor a day after their meeting, Nganate said the mayor donated land to him during a meeting at his office on the previous day.

“ . . . the meeting deliberated and resolved that: 250 hectares be apportioned and availed to the joint venture between the Office of the Governor and the Office of the Mayor – food production garden project.

“Similarly, that the homestead and all structures at farm Nuwehoop also be part and parcel of this joint venture,” he wrote.

Farm Nuwehoop is meant for food production in the fight against food insecurity in the region.


Nganate said this donation would make his “humble vision” a reality by “producing food with the quest of feeding our own people”.
The matter was tabled at a council meeting three months later.

In September, councillor Isack de Beer requested a meeting with the management committee to understand the garden project in a letter to the chief executive.

“I further call on you as an accounting officer of the Gobabis municipality to ensure that proper procedure is followed for the allocation of farm Nuwehoop as prescribed in the Local Authorities Act,” he added.

Pijoo Nganate


Communities subsequently handed over a petition to the municipal councillors, calling it an “unprocedural allocation”.

“We have a responsibility to hold our leaders accountable and it was therefore very disturbing when the governor said something like, and I quote, ‘you can also retire there’.

“This statement is very dangerous, because it creates the impression that these two public figures are using their positions for their own personal gain,” they wrote. The farm was handed over before the council meeting.

Despite the petition and Uutoni’s outstanding approval, the mayor wrote to the governor on 4 October last year, informing him that the council had agreed to the land donation.

“The council in its special council meeting held on 25 September 2023 resolved to allocate 250 hectares of land of farm Nuwehoop to the Office of the Governor for sustainable agricultural projects for food production and food security, subject to all legal requirements,” Tjozongoro told Nganate.

She acknowledged that she was yet to receive Uutoni’s approval, but agreed to sign an agreement and give Nganate access to the land, in the meantime.

“I would like to inform you that the council is delighted to accord you preliminary access to the farm to start with your planning and processes due to the urgency of the matter,” the mayor said.

This letter was preceded by another letter, this time written by the chief executive, to Nganate to inform him of the council resolution to use the land.


Nganate on Wednesday told The Namibian the process of acquiring the land is not related to food provision.

He directed questions to the municipality. “Find out whether they are followed or not. Only the municipality can confirm with confidence on this,” Nganate said.

Speaking to Desert Radio, Nganate last year said the region has embarked on phase one of a poverty alleviation campaign, which includes supplying food to residents of the region.

“Phase two will entail the establishment of an agri-business at farm Nuwehoop on a 250ha piece of land,” he said.

The project will cost N$40 million, and is in line with the World Food Programme and World Health Organisation, he said.

Uutoni and Tjozongoro did not yet respond to questions sent to them last week. The minister said he needed more time to obtain information on the matter.

The post Gobabis mayor, governor bypass minister in land donation appeared first on The Namibian.

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