The mayor of Katima Mulilo, Charles Matengu, has denied reports that the town council has withdrawn the 1 000 erven that were set aside for landless youth, while Cabinet is expected to hold a special land caucus today.
Namibian Sun has learnt from reliable sources that there has been political pressure to rescind the council’s decision, as it was unfair to those who have been on a waiting list for plots at the town.
The push is said to have emanated from as high as President Hage Geingob and Zambezi Governor Lawrence Sampofu’s offices. However, State House has denied reports that President Geingob was involved.
This, some say, led to Matengu calling a press conference yesterday to announce the change in plan. “There is nothing like that. The colleague from the ministry called to ask me to clarify this matter which was reported on television and that is what I did during the press conference,” said Matengu. The decision to make available plots followed a recent clash between members of the police’s Special Field Force and about 100 protesters who had blocked the municipality’s entrance gate.
The protestors threatened to stay put until they were offered plots for building houses and shops. Matengu denied succumbing to pressure from the protesters and hence giving them the land deal. “There is no truth in that and we did not bow down to pressure from anyone. That is why I called that press conference to clear up that issue.
“Plans were already approved and we awarded the plots before this issue came to the fore.”
Meanwhile, a special caucus meeting will take place today between the Cabinet Committee on Land Related Matters and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Land and Natural Resources to address the land crisis in the country.
This was revealed by Minister of Information and Communication Technology Tjekero Tweya.
Tweya reiterated that this urgent meeting has nothing to do with the call by International Monetary Fund delegate Jiro Honda that the Namibian government should address house prices as a matter of urgency.
“Government has achieved a lot in this regard, but people do not know about it, so after this meeting we will give feedback to the public on what has been done and what the way forward is,” said Tweya.
The special caucus follows a vigorous campaign for affordable land by Affirmative Repositioning movement led by youth activist Job Amupanda.
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