By Patience Nyangove and
MYSTERY surrounds the construction of a structure at plot 414 Jasper Street in Academia by a suspected North Korean contractor hired by Ministry of Defence outfit, August 26 Holdings amid reports that the double storey building has bunkers and architectural plans for the building were never submitted to the City of Windhoek for approval, Confidente can reveal.
Confidente also learnt that construction started in May and August 26 Holdings has offered to buy adjacent plots if the owners are not happy with the military outfit presence in the area.
The development has since irked residents of the neighbouring plots who are currently busy with a petition to be submitted to the City of Windhoek.
North Korea has come under growing diplomatic pressure since its January nuclear test and a space rocket launch in February, which led to a new UN Security Council resolution in March tightening sanctions against Pyongyang.
The Namibian government informed Pyongyang of its decision to end its cooperation with North Korean companies during the Minister of International Relations, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah’s visit to North Korea in late June.
The Namibian Government has since said it has terminated the services of North Korean companies in Namibia as long as UN sanctions against that country remain in force.
When Confidente visited the construction site Tuesday, it observed construction workers of Asian origin leaving the site for their lunch break.
“We have seen that they are building a huge bunker on the premises and we have tried to ask questions but nobody is giving us answers. This is definitely not a house they are constructing and if its offices they never approached the city of Windhoek to have the plot rezoned. When we asked questions about the bunker the construction manager said it was storage space for papers. It doesn’t make any sense that North Koreans would be brought here just to construct a house. We don’t want trouble or make trouble but we need to know what is happening,” one of the neighbours said.
Confidente also has in its possession the petition that has since been signed by 13 residents that reside in the vicinity of the August 26 plot where they expressed their disapproval of the building under construction.
“With this petition we declare our dissatisfaction and objection to the development and construction activities which has been in progress during the past five months at Plot 414, Jasper Street in Academia. We came to the understanding that the government (Ministry of Defence) has bought the above mentioned plot and is currently constructing a huge double story building on top of a large basement.
“At this stage, they didn’t consult any of the neighbours surrounding the plot or anyone in the vicinity regarding the nature of the development or the impact on privacy or quality of life that maybe altered by the design of the structure or future activities on that premises. We did contact the manager in charge of building control at City of Windhoek and found no cooperation in this regard. Not only can this development and related activities devalue our properties, it is also encroaching on the adjourning properties,” the petition signed by 13 residents in the vicinity of the August 26 property wrote.
A copy of one of the letters sent to the City of Windhoek by one of the residents on June 14 shows that when residents tried to inquire from August 26 about what was being constructed the door was slammed in their faces.
“I am very dissatisfied with the building project that is taking place next door to our dwelling. The contractor is busy building a double storey building next to us which is in conflict with our privacy. In contacting your department earlier I were informed that the dwelling were bought by a government institution and on requesting your staff why we were not being consulted regarding approval of the double storey I were just informed that approval won’t be needed and the building plans were at that stage also not in place (sic),” the letter reads in part.
However, CEO of August 26, Retired Brigadier General James Auala when contacted for comment Tuesday, said people should learn to mind their own business.
“We are operating within the perimeters of our plot. We bought it for a purpose but that is a different issue all together. You know people are funny, they want to know what is not for them to know yet ignore what they should know. They hear the name August 26 and conclude all sorts of things. This is what we call voluntary sabotaging,” he said.
City of Windhoek spokesperson, Joshua Amukugo said residents complaining about the construction of the building are yet to approach the city to lodge their complaints.
“We haven’t been contacted by them,” he said.
When asked what exactly August 26 Holdings was constructing on the plot, Amukugo said: “This is a residential area and if people are surprised by the structures then we don’t know.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015