Keetmans Municipality needs millions to service land

01 Jul 2015 18:10pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 01 JUL (NAMPA) – The Keetmanshoop Municipality needs about N.dollars 903 million to service 2 250 residential and industrial plots over a period of five to 10 years in this fast-growing southern town in the //Karas Region.
Speaking to Nampa on Tuesday, the municipality’s Senior Manager of Local Economic Development and Community Services, Jegg Christiaan said to respond to land delivery demands, the municipality needs to service land and sell it to raise funds to service more land.
“A holistic town planning process and servicing is urgently needed. We also need smart ideas to deliver land,” he noted.
There is about 40 000 hectares of virgin land available for residential and commercial purposes, Christiaan said.
A number of applications for commercial land have been received from investors in the manufacturing, agro-processing and logistics sectors, but Keetmanshoop has run out of industrial plots.
By the end of the year 2017, all existing townships in Keetmanshoop will be fully occupied, Christiaan said.
To cope with the growing influx of people, the municipality needs to create at least one new township annually over the next six years. This requires an annual investment of N.dollars 115 million for environmental impact assessments (EIAs), surveying, registration and the construction of bulk municipal services.
The mushrooming of illegal informal settlements also poses a problem for the municipality, Christiaan said.
“This is a very big challenge as illegal squatters demand water, sewerage and electricity services from the municipality. The high rate of rural migration to the town puts too much pressure on the municipality and we cannot address it alone,” he noted.
About 2 000 people live in the informal settlement in the town.
Christiaan raised the concern that the biggest hurdle for the municipality is not raising enough money from rendering municipality services to residents in the town - uncollected water revenue from ratepayers tops the list of the municipal budget, he said.
Desperate to make some income, the municipality sells plots at give-away prices and in return incur huge losses. It costs the municipality about N.dollars 45 000 to service a 300 square metre plot.
Currently, an unserviced plot is sold for N.dollars 19 per square metre and costs about N.dollars 5 700 in residential areas such as Tseiblaagte.
“The municipality is not making money fast enough to service land. The sale prices of these plots are way too low,” Christiaan lamented.