The Popular Democratic Movement has called for an investigation into the process that led to the Municipality of Windhoek to amend its institutional land policy late last year.
The amendments to that policy made it possible for Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa to rezone a plot she initially acquired for a kindergarten, to build a service station in Rocky Crest.
Shaningwa’s plot – Erf 1464, Long Island, Rocky Crest, was initially zoned for institutional land use – to establish a kindergarten, documents show.
The kindergarten was never built and the land remained vacant over the years.
PDM secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe in a letter to the Anti-Corruption Commission last week claimed that Shaningwa might have influenced the municipality to change its policy to allow for institutional land to be rezoned and used for business purposes.
Ngaringombe wants the ACC to establish whether the municipality was forced, through political pressure, to change its institutional land policy to allow Shaningwa to build a service station.
The land zoned for institutional use is primarily sold for the purposes of building schools, institutions of higher learning, places of worship, welfare organisations, sports and recreational clubs, at subsidised prices.
The municipality’s land policy was introduced to provide guidelines for the sale of land for institutional purposes and sports grounds to prospective customers at a subsidised purchase price. Such subsidies are part of the council’s grant policy.
“The objective of the policy is to uplift communities by addressing their social needs, granting favourable circumstances and rebates in acquiring land at affordable rates to advance their noble causes,” council documents read.
As a result, Shaningwa bought the plot on a subsidised price.
Shaningwa’s application to rezone the plot from institutional to business was rejected in April last year due to restrictions of the council’s institutional land policy.
However, the municipality changed its policy at the end of last year. Ngaringombe therefore claimed that it was out of the ordinary that the municipality changed its institutional land policy.
“lndeed, Shaningwa is a very powerful politician, … it is then our submission that the council received direct or indirect influence from Shaningwa that influenced its decision to amend the institutional land policy that ultimately granted Petra Palace Court cc permission to build a service station on that piece of land in Rocky Crest,” Nganringombe alleges.