He is arguably one of the very few influential men of his age in Namibia and is tasked with the political leadership of the Windhoek municipality which faces a recurrent shortage of land, housing, unemployment and also economic growth. The young Windhoek city Mayor Muesee Kazapua seats with Prime Focus Senior Reporter Philani Nkomo to give an insight on his plans on dealing with the social ills that faces the city and also elaborate on how the city plans to deal with provision of sanitation and housing to the shanty towns.
PF: How is the municipality planning to deal with the recurrent land issues?
Mayor: Land has become a national issue at all levels of our government, be central, regional or local. For local authorities the backlog is severe in the housing industry.
The situation is caused by the shortage in supply of serviced land, versus resources at local authorities’ disposal. The City of Windhoek population has been growing at more than 4.5 per cent annually since 1995, with an effective growth of just under 55 per cent over the period.
It is for this reason that in February this year, Council held a retreat on the state of land delivery in the City. We looked at various internal processes and policies, as well national laws that need amendments.
PF: What is the short to long term plan for the municipality in dealing with housing and employment?
Mayor: The ideal plan is to avail adequate resources for the servicing of land and review current national legislations that are prohibitive. This includes the local authority Act 23 of 1993 and laws governing the Namibia Planning Board, and the Township Board. This will cut the current red tape involved in the alienation of land.
This will increase municipal capacities and the supply of serviced plot, as well as stabilizing property prices in the long run.
PF: What are the major challenges facing the city to date?
Mayor: Unemployed, rapid urbanization, shortage of serviced land for housing and commercial development, and the dwindling revenue base, are major concerns.
PF: Do you think as a city we have done well to improve provision of sanitation and social amenities in the past 24 years?
Mayor: The provision of sanitation especially in the unplanned areas, such as the fast growing informal areas have proved challenging. This is caused by un-procedural land occupation which makes the servicing of land for water and sanitation impossible in the informal areas.
PF: Serviced land continues to be one of the challenges facing the city to date what is the way forward?
Mayor: As referred to earlier, lack of adequate resources is central to our inabilities to service the much needed land. We will continue to engage government and embrace the ongoing national projects such as Targeted Intervention for Policy or Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG) and Mass Housing.
PF: The municipality has been faced with the rise in unemployment how does the municipality plan to deal with this?
Mayor: In order to open up employment opportunities, we need to embrace major development proposals in the City. For the past few years we have been doing that, allocating land on private treaty basis to economic sensible proposals. However, although Council grants this approval, they are usually caught up in the red tape as they have to go through NAMPAB or are subject of Ministerial approval- a process that have been taking not less than 6 months.
PF: Does the municipality have a long term plan to deal with rural urban migration?
Mayor: Namibia is a free country, where citizens have freedom of movement including urban settling. Rural urban drift is a national issue. Our proposal will therefore be that, as a Government we need to fast track decentralization and capacitating the upcoming towns and villages, so that we can relief pressure on major urban areas, such Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
PF: Does the city of Windhoek also have a way of dealing with efficient service delivery in the future?
Mayor: The City of Windhoek remains poised to live by its vision of “enhancing the quality of life of all our people”- through the provision of efficient and effective municipal services. We have over the years maintained good standards, a clean city, building roads and uninterrupted supply of water and electricity- and we will continue doing that.
PF: There are growing concerns over shortage of parking space in the CBD what is the plan on dealing with this?
Mayor: As in population growth, the City has also experienced growth in vehicular population. With the development in its peripheral areas such as the Grove Mall and other nodes, parking space is slowly opening up in the CBD particularly during shopping hours. We however, remain very strict on the provision of parking when considering development proposal.
PF: What is the municipality's plan on dealing with recurrent shacks and illegal occupation in the city?
Mayor: Un-procedural municipal land occupation makes provision of services a challenge in itself. We appeal to our people to desist from such activities.
PF: What is the municipality doing to improve infrastructure development?
Mayor: Our role in the infrastructural development is more on town planning scheme, allocating land and making sure that all urban planning procedures are adhered to. Thus, building plans’ approval and inspections of all constructions in the City. The provision of water and electrical service are other municipal responsibilities. By making sure that all the said are done on time, comprises our contribution to the improvement of infrastructural development in the City.
PF: Does the municipality have a plan to build tarred roads in informal settlements?
Mayor: Building of roads in the informal settlements is ongoing as we speak. The progress on this project have been announced at our February 2015 and also recorded in the Mayoral Report 2014.
PF: There are still challenges with sewer reticulation in most informal settlements what the city’s plan in dealing with it is?
Mayor: Of course as indicated earlier, provision of services is a challenge in areas that were occupied unprocedural. In fact, it is for that reason that they are referred to as informal, because they are not planned. Most of the informal settlements are in rough terrains, making the provision of services including sewer reticulation impossible. We plan to formalize and relocate some of the people to allow the laying of services.