Uis's legal history

01 October 2007 |
allegations by certain individuals and group of people misrepresenting the factual history of ownership of land at Uis and in particular the misleading articles that recently appeared in the media, in particular The Namibian dated September 14, 2007, under "TIN TOWN SOLD FOR SONG" and Republikein dated September 17, 2007, under "UIS INWONERS EIS ANTWOORDE NA VERKOOP VAN DORPSGROND".

1. IMKOR TIN (PTY) LTD The entire mining concern previously operated by IMKOR TIN (PTY) LTD (IMKOR), a subsidiary of ISCOR of SOUTH AFRICA, on the farm Uis Townlands No. 215, was purchased by NAMIB BASE MINERALS (PTY) LTD. during 1995 by private treaty. For many years since the early fifties the Uis tin mine was the most important source of employment in the Damaraland area and closure of the Uis tine mine late in 1991 due to the breakdown of the international tin cartel in 1985 and the collapse of the price of tin could not be avoided.

Subsequent to 1991 after the IMKOR personnel left, IMKOR pursued various possibilities to sell its assets and with Government consent their efforts resulted in the sale during 1995 of the whole of the assets of IMKOR at the Uis tin mine to NAMIB BASE MINERALS (PTY) LTD (NBM) comprising the assets of IMKOR which included all buildings, structures and infrastructure erected by IMKOR as well as the surface rights and right to occupy the property on which the buildings, structures and infrastructure were erected.

2. PROCLAMATION OF UIS TOWNSHIP 2.1 NBM purchased all improvements, structures and buildings at the mining town Uis directly from IMKOR during 1995 by way of private treaty almost 5 years after all mining operations were stopped and most of the houses formally occupied by IMKOR personnel were vacated. 2.2 NBM became the legal holder of a PTO [Permission to Occupy] permit over the Uis Townlands Number 215 during 1995 and possessed all improvements, structures and buildings on the area that were legally purchased from IMKOR whilst the Government still owned the land on which IMKOR had operated since 1958. 2.3 NBM was instrumental to initiate the procedures for the establishment of a township on the farm Uis Townlands No 215 and the installation of the necessary municipal services.

At the time the value of the land owned by Government, as valued by an Assessor, was N$240 000 which excluded the improvements thereon that was purchased from IMKOR, whilst the services which NBM supplied and paid for was valued for an amount of N$2 228 625-02. 2.4 Subsequent to having provided services to the entire area at huge costs and having applied for the subdivision and transfer of Portions 1, 2 and 3 from the farm Uis Townlands, approval was given to NBM for proclamation of the Uis Township that was published by Government Notice No. 73 in Government Gazette No. 1829 dated 1 April 1998. All costs and expenses related to the whole proclamation exercise that included the survey, subdivision and installation of services, were paid for by NBM to develop the township.

3. TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP 3.1 NBM legally purchased Portion 1, 2 and 3 of the farm Uis Townlands No. 215 from the Government and the land was transferred to NBM in terms of Deed of Transfer No T5370/1997. All references in the newspapers to commission is denied, devoid of any truth and totally ludicrous. 3.2 NBM for its own account then subdivided Portion 1 in 115 erven and remainder streets and General Plan No. A 37/1997 was registered on 6 November 1997. The Land Register of the said Township was also opened at the Deeds Office.

The Title Deed was duly endorsed in terms of Section 46/3 of the Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1937 to the effect that a township has been laid out on the land. After the Ministry of Regional and Local Government and Housing was notified to proceed with the proclamation, Uis was declared as an approved Township in 1998. 3.3 Certain erven were reserved for the State namely Erven 11, 12, 75, 90, 99 to 102 and 107 to 112 and the remainder streets were transferred to the Government of Namibia and the Local Authority for the cost of NBM, being the Uis Village Council as contemplated in Section 15(1) of Ordinance 1963 [Ordinance No 13 of 1963]. The records of the Deeds Office are clear and available to the public to confirm the legal status of the land in question.

4. MEDIA REPORTS The reports in the media are a distortion of the factual history and can be described as misleading allegations by a few opportunistic or misinformed individuals and is extremely important to inter alia consider the matters set out hereunder.

4.1 INVESTMENT BY NBM The investment by NBM during 1995 at Uis is similar in principle as various other schemes undertaken in Namibia or elsewhere by other developers obtaining property from Government or Municipal Councils for development and having such proclaimed for development purposes.

4.2 RISKY INVESTMENT The undertaking and investment in Uis at the time by Mr Weitz on behalf of NBM was however, more risky as no financial institution was prepared to risk finance given that the Uis area was largely vacated and no track record of any kind existed with regard to the demand for property within the area than comparative developments close or nearby major townships.

4.3 LAND SOLD, NOT BUILDINGS Only the land was purchased from the Government by virtue of the rights of first refusal provided for in the PTOs [Permission to Occupy] and paid for in full by NBM and not the improvements and buildings erected thereon as reported and erroneously alleged in the media reports. The allegation that the land and buildings were valued at NR3.6 million therefore has absolutely no relevance to the purported claims made by a few individuals who claim to act on behalf of the community, and is an attempt to distort the facts, as the 15 hectare land sold was valued by Government valuers given that NBM purchased the buildings from IMKOR in a separate transaction.

4.4 NBM CAUSED PROCLAMATION NBM, at its sole risk, initiative and expense, also upon request of the Government undertook the effort to survey, obtain subdivision and eventual proclamation to declare IMKOR TOWN a township and all applicable laws were complied with in this respect and various erven were reserved for the Government and the Town Council.

4.5 NBM PAID FOR ALL SERVICES It is important to record that NBM paid for the installation of all municipal services for the township at a total cost far in excess of N$2 million (valued at N$2 228 625-02 by Government valuer) in order to allow the mining town to become a proclaimed TOWNSHIP. It seems that this fact was conveniently withheld from the media. Normally the Government would have to repurchase these services

4.6 NO FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION BY COUNCIL At no time did Government or the previous Village Council contribute any funds of whatsoever nature to cause the mining town and structures at Uis to be saved from demolishment and to be further developed for the benefit of the community of the area. Prior to 1995 the mining town was run by the management of the mine who owned the infrastructure and it was NBM who created the way for a town council by proclaiming a township.

4.7 BRANDBERG-WES MINE Had it not been for the timely intervention of Mr Weitz, being prepared at his sole risk and the expense through the company NBM, to have the vision and entrepreneurial spirit at a time when no other party or financial institution was prepared to accept the risk to invest, the mining town no doubt would have been destined to follow and to suffer the same fate that happened to a nearby mining town Brandberg-Wes, that was completely demolished given the strict provisions pertaining to rehabilitation in terms of Namibia?s mining laws.

4.8 PRIVATE OWNERSHIP/LEGAL TITLE Save for a few new structures or improvement to existing buildings all improvements and buildings at IMKOR TOWN were formerly erected by IMKOR. The mining town of Uis is situated within a communal area where no private ownership is possible. Without installation of services, the whole process that resulted in the eventual proclamation of Uis as a township, as well as the consent granted to purchase the land from the Government on which the buildings (purchased by NBM from IMKOR) were erected privatisation of properties at Uis to obtain legal title for owners would not have been possible. Today, 12 years after NBM became involved, 95 percent of the houses are in private hands and property prices increased drastically of late.

4.9 TOURISM As a result of the positive upliftment and the fact that the infrastructure was retained for development, IMKOR TOWN was proclaimed as Uis Township and has become an important stopover for tourism in Damaraland, creating spin-offs or many related investment possibilities and save for Namclay, approximately 50 other people are employed in Uis.

4.10 NO OTHER INVESTMENTS Since 1991 notwithstanding various mining specialists and possible investors having been approached or having made enquiries or investigations for possible economically viable projects related to mining, not one such investment materialised to create new work opportunities at Uis or within the region, until a few years ago when new opportunities were created by Mr Weitz, resulting in a major other group now exploiting the white sand dumps for minerals and are in the process of creating approximately 20 to 40 new job opportunities.

4.11 QUALITY CLAY BRICKS AND PAVERS Mr Weitz, through his continued perseverance and investigations, has identified a major new investment opportunity at Uis by utilising what was previously regarded as worthless white sand and slime dumps (purchased by NBM from IMKOR), intends to propel Uis to very soon become the biggest supplier of highquality natural clay bricks and pavers and related products like roof tiles to the construction industry, that could make Namibia not only self-sufficient in respect of such products but will replace costly imports due to the unavailability of natural clay in Namibia.

Mr Weitz has expressed not only his confidence by investing several million of his own funds but also taking up a loan of N$5,5 million from the Development Bank for the extension and upgrading of the Namclay Brickworks that will create further necessary employment opportunities for the Damaraland region. This project already created 60 new job opportunities in the last two years period.

4.12 MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY The locally manufactured natural clay bricks and pavers and related products will be absorbed by the market and is a proud new industry for the manufacturing industry of Namibia to provide competitive quality of superior pressure strength for the harsh climate of Namibia at a very reasonable price to ensure world class products that is important for growth opportunities for the Namibian economy and future export market The brickmaking factory will thus bring growth and support existing community structures and is committed to support and contribute towards the Village Council for purposes of infrastructure development in the northern region.

5. MEDIA REPORTS CREATE WRONG IMPRESSION 5.1 The recent negative reports in the media spurred by a few individuals with ulterior motives at a time when property prices are increasing for existing owners who hold title and new investment is coming to Uis, unfortunately creates a total misleading or distorted picture of the factual history of this dusty mining town and does not acknowledge the sincere and continuous efforts and investment by NBM and the person of Mr Weitz. 5.2 At the time when NBM purchased the land from the Government approximately 1 800 people resided in an informal settlement in the communal area which was situated directly adjacent to the IMKOR TOWN area that was purchased by NBM from IMKOR and the Government respectively. It is sad to see that the Namibia Democratic Movement of Change (NDMC) is trying to create the false impression that the persons residing in the informal settlement adjacent to Uis Township are in fact residing on property belonging to Mr Weitz.

It is therefore ridiculous and a total distortion of the factual position for Mr Kauandenge of the NDMC to comment and to inform the press that the souls and minds of 3 000 Uis residents were sold to the gates of hell. That statement is totally devoid of any truth and was made with the intention to misinform the public. 5.3 The further comments by Mr Kauandenge and Mr John Gariseb that the land was stolen and that the Government signed off the land and sold its people to a foreigner who does not care about there welfare, is also totally devoid of any truth as the area of the informal settlement was not sold by the Government as it lies adjacent to the area sold by the Government. Furthermore, Mr Weitz is not a foreigner as reported to the press and this comment also seems to be intentional to create a wrong impression. 5.4 Mr Weitz at all times acted within the parameters of the law and was transparent in all his efforts and was solely responsible to prevent IMKOR to create another demolished area like the nearby abandoned Brandberg-Wes mine. 5.5 By utilizing previously regarded useless material purchased from IMKOR by private treaty, NBM has added value and extended the lifespan of Uis that was doomed to now become a new growth area providing many new job opportunities in Damaraland.

6. CONCLUSION We trust the above information will suffice to provide statisfactory answers to all those interested parties who try to undermine the future development of Uis.



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