24 May 2015 11:40am
GROOTFONTEIN, 24 MAY (NAMPA) A two-day consultative meeting on national urban and rural land development took place at Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region on Friday and Saturday.
The Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa headed the consultative meeting. She was accompanied by her two deputy ministers; Sylvia Makgone and Derek Klazen.
Various regional governors, traditional authority representatives, mayors, the chairpersons of all regional councils and officials in the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development also attended the meeting at a local lodge in Grootfontein.
In her official opening remarks on Friday, Shaningwa said she had called the meeting to consult with all stakeholders involved in the quest for urban and rural land delivery to the nation.
She said President Hage Geingob on 24 April this year wrote her a letter asking that she provide an action plan to the Office of the President on how her ministry - including sub-national governance structures - would fast-track affordable land delivery and quality houses to the people.
She said the President stated in the letter that he wants to see easy access and provision of serviced land being given to the homeless and landless Namibians during Shaningwas tenure as minister.
We all have a role to play from the national level to the village setup in dealing with these challenges facing us on affordable land delivery, she said.
The minister noted that it is a fact that many Namibians do not have access to serviced land in towns which they can build their own houses on.
She said the majority of these people still live in deplorable conditions in shacks situated in various towns informal settlements.
She noted that the absence or acute shortage of housing basic services in rural areas has also increased the influx of young people from rural areas to urban centres.
She warned that this state of undesirable housing affairs and delivery of serviced town land will not be allowed to continue during her tenure as Minister of Urban and Rural Development.
She then ordered the mayors of all towns in the country to provide her with figures of available serviced land and the size of un-serviced town lands.
By doing this we will have a picture on how we can gradually service the land and deliver it to the general public on the basis of affordability to all, she said.
Shaningwa cautioned political leaders allegedly dancing to the tunes of chief regional officers and chief executive officers to be careful.
She encouraged the politicians to rather study and understand their functions and powers as local authority or regional councillors for them not to succumb to any manipulation by these top executive officers.
She ordered all regional governors and chairpersons of regional councils countrywide to work together in serving their one client the Namibian nation.
On budgetary matters, the minister said no mismanagement of funds will be entertained at any local authority or regional council countrywide.
I urge you to do more with fewer available resources at your disposal, she said.
The consultative meeting made several recommendations, such as the reduction of costs during the servicing of town lands by cutting out consultants.
It was also recommended that the ministry issue a directive to all municipalities around the country to allow them to start servicing their own town lands.
The use of locally manufactured building materials during actual construction was also recommended highly at the meeting.