Govt did not ask City to reduce erf sizes

03 Apr 2014 11:10am
WINDHOEK, 03 APR (NAMPA) - The City of Windhoek (CoW) has refuted recent newspaper reports that it received a request from Government to minimise the size of erven from 300 square metres (m2) to 150 m2.
Local media reports last week had it that the City is unhappy with the request from the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development to reduce the size of single plots.
Speaking at a media briefing here on Wednesday, the CoW's Manager for Corporate Communications, Marketing, Tourism and Customer Care, Joshua Amukugo said the City never received such a request from that ministry.
He said the request by the City’s Management Committee to Council to reduce erven sizes was done in line with Section 5.2.6 of the amended National Housing Policy of 2009, which makes provision for applications for the creation of erven smaller than 300 m2 to be considered by the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development for exemption upon request.
“Could the reduction proposal submitted to Council by the Management Committee have been approved by Council, the City would thus have approached the line Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Charles Namoloh, subsequent to positive consideration of the item for ministerial approval of erven smaller than 300 m2 by a Council meeting,” Amukugo explained.
He said the submission of 27 March 2014 by the Management Committee was made for Council to consider the reduction of erf sizes for a number of reasons.
These include the scarcity of land, which is a major concern; that the City cannot overburden the urban poor with erven and services which they cannot afford; and that rapid urbanisation requires that the City responds appropriately.
Amukugo stated that emphasis should not be on the size of the erven, but rather on the quality of housing and the creation of vibrant communities.
Densification would require the City to invest more in the creation of community services and infrastructure like parks and recreational areas.
“Public spaces need to be developed to ensure that the necessary relief is granted from the dense urban fabric.
Such spaces will not only fulfil a social role, but an environmental one too as the green space will ensure that eco-systems are protected and bio-diversity is respected,” the spokesperson added.
The National Housing Act of 1991 also made provision for erf sizes of less than 300m2, and that such may be permitted where it is justified by the design, implementation and marketing concept of individual projects.