By Donna Collins
RÖSSING Uranium Limited (RUL) has certainly left its legacy in more ways than one. Apart from the giant uranium mining company celebrating its 40th anniversary, the company has left a trail of properties initially built to house mining staff – which still play a huge role in the real estate market even today.
Driving through the streets of the more established parts of Swakopmund, it is not difficult to spot the ‘Rossing house’, many of which have been transformed over the decades from basic uniform beige, to a variety of modern colours and attractive upgrades. These sturdy built three and four bedroomed family homes on spacious erfs, at one point made up the biggest percentage of the town’s property portfolio, many of which have found new owners.
Now, claiming that their key role is “mining, not property”, Rössing will be selling the last of its many houses, after the Swakopmund Council agreed to a proposal RUL tabled. A total of 68 Rössing houses built on municipal land in Tamariskia are on sale, in line with an agreement made between the two parties some 40 years ago.
The proposed process would be that the municipality gets 40 percent and Rössing 60 percent of the sale prices. The erven belong to the municipality and the 40 percent is for the land value. The 60 percent is for the development of the land.
These 68 houses in Tamariskia will go on sale by October 1 subject to the final approval of the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development. Rössing employees currently occupying the houses will have first choice to buy the houses at a discounted value; thereafter the properties will be open for sale to other Rössing employees.
The houses that are unsold after this process will go out on open tender to the public by the municipality with reserve prices.
Shaan van Schalkwyk, Rössing’s chief financial officer, confirmed that Rössing will be selling all their residential property to focus on its core business. He said that Rössing was bound by a lease agreement with the Municipality of Swakopmund jointly signed back in 1976, with the understanding that the Municipality of Swakopmund provides the land and Rössing services and develops it.
“In terms of the agreement, the land portion would remain the property of the municipality, but the improvements, namely the houses are Rössing’s property which is why there is the distribution of the purchase price,” said Van Schalkwyk.
“In the proposal to Council, Rössing also plans to donate two of the properties in Tamariskia, but this decision is subject to approval of the parties’ signatory to the Notarial Lease Agreement.” It is well known that Rössing invested substantially in residential accommodation and built well in excess of a 1 000 units throughout Arandis and Swakopmund with substantial portions of these already sold.
“Rössing Uranium has made available its houses to its employees a few times over the years, offered well below market valuation prices,” explained Van Schalkwyk.” These houses were in Kramersdorf, Vineta as well as in Arandis, and last year a total of 31 houses were sold, bringing the figure up to another 29 houses either sold, being sold or still available to employees,” he added, saying the majority of the houses in these areas were sold over the past 18 months.
“All houses have been valued by a valuator and employees occupying the houses were given time to purchase the houses at a cost below market value, or otherwise put on the open market.” Council stipulated a number of conditions of sale of the properties as proposed by RUL, which included that the period to secure the purchase price by Rössing employers be 90 days. The property must either be paid in cash of secured by formal bank guarantee within the three-month period, failing which the transaction will be cancelled. The company has still kept back some of its houses to utilise as transit accommodation.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015