City of Windhoek Chief Executive Officer Robert Kahimise has decided to set aside a council decision and approved leasing of land in the city.
The council in 2015 rejected an application from a certain Ismael Tjikuniva to lease erf 8457 situated in Mungunda Street in Katutura. Tjikuniva who is the owner of Easy Hair Studio cc applied to lease the portion of the erf for a “barbershop and related activities”.
Tjikuniva’s application was rejected on the basis that the land he had applied for is reserved for sport and recreation development and no business activities should be allowed on that portion of land.
Former city property management manager Elly Shipiki, wrote to Tjikuniva on 14 April 2016 to inform him about the denial of his application.
“Reference is made to your application with regard to the subject property and wish to inform you that at a council meeting held on 2015-11-26, under resolution 326/11/2015, it resolved: that the application of Mr Ismael Tjikuniva to lease a portion of Erf R/8457, Katutura should not be supported.”
Shipiki also added that the land applied for is “‘abuts’ erf 9113 therefore an approval of the lease would deprive the owner of erf 9113 an opportunity to purchase or lease it in line with the public open space policy should the applicants application be considered.”
Despite the council resolution, Kahimise wrote to Tjikuniva on 19 January 2018 informing him about the approval of the lease of the portion.
“It is recommended that the Property Management division approves the lease of erf 8457, Katutura with the following conditions: the lease should not deprive the owner of erf 9113 from acquiring 10 metres extension should it be requested.
“The structure of the owner of Easy Hair Studio be moved when it is within the portion requested by the owner of erf 9113, Katutura.
It is noted that erf 8457 is situated on difficult terrain with rocky and challenging geoscience, thus not possible to develop recreational facility,” read Kahimise’s letter.
Queried why he by-passed council resolution, Kahimise denied having approved the application, despite the fact that there is a letter bearing his signature.
“Since when do I approve leases? The Tjikuniva letter was supposed to be an internal letter informing other departments on the outcome of the park division investigation. It was erroneously drafted to Tjikuniva and he thought it was an approval, the client was informed about the error and confirmed that it’s not an approval.
The last council resolution on erf remains. We called in the client and verbally informed him that his application has not been approved,” he said.
At the time the letter for the approval of lease was copied to the city’s parks manager Uakazuvaka Kazombiaze. Kazombiaze confirmed to The Patriot that he is the one who drafted the letter, but was allegedly only told this past Wednesday night by his colleagues at the housing division to retract it.
“I am the drafter of that letter as you can see it has the CEO’s signature. I sent it to his office for signing but I got information last night (Wednesday) from my colleagues at the housing division that I must retract that letter and I am retracting the letter today (Thursday). Please also note that Mr Tjikuniva had already put a structure before he applied for that land we have advised him to follow the right procedures,” he said.
This is not the first time Kahimise is accused of having by-passed council procedures. The first time was when his study loan of €31,650 (N$534,203) was approved by the then Chairperson of the Management Committee Mathew Amadhila on 21 February 2018 without the knowledge of the other councillors.
Documents show that in March last year, the City of Windhoek paid N$149,000 to an Israeli university, Galilee International Management Institute, where Kahimise is studying towards a doctorate degree in Business Administration.
The city also paid N$79,000 for travel and accommodation expenses for its CEO for the first contact session which took place in France on 27 August – 05 September. This led to his suspension in October last year.
Tjikuniva was not reachable at the time of going to print.