Only tycoons benefit from land auctions

July 15, 2015, 7:40am

Only tycoons benefit from land auctions

Windhoek’s Mayor Muesee Kazapua has admitted that no ordinary Namibian can afford to buy a house on auction.
Kazapua also admitted that the City operates under outdated legal frameworks that hamper accessibility to land for prospective homeowners.
He also said local authorities struggle to provide serviced land to Namibians, and the problem is aggravated by a mismatch between the supply of and demand for houses.
According to him only “millionaires” or “business tycoons” can afford to buy land on public auction.
“People are now moving out of Windhoek to Okahandja and other towns because they cannot afford these high prices. N$500 000 is extremely expensive,” said Kazapua.
To make matters worse it takes the government more than three years to allocate land to a buyer.
“I realised that our system to process allocations is very cumbersome,” he said when inaugurating the Green Wall Building Solution at the Hope Village Orphanage in Katutura.
The building was built by Project 38, a Namibian-owned construction company.
Kazapua said although about
2 000 hectares of land is available, the municipality simply has no money to service plots.

“For the last few years the City of Windhoek could not cope to provide land for the low-income earners,” he said.
He appealed to the private sector to initiate low-cost housing ventures in order to complement the government’s efforts to reduce the housing backlog.
The current housing backlog stands at over 100 000 units.
“The need of our people to have access to affordable homes can no longer be postponed and as such local authorities are ready to collaborate with the private sector to arrest this challenge once and for all,” said Kazapua.
Meanwhile, the lack of serviced land has frustrated hundreds of Namibians into invading land illegally over the last few weeks.
On Sunday about 300 Namibians cleared land in the Penduka area adjacent to the Goreangab Dam, saying they could no longer wait on the government to fulfil its promise.
Some residents who hailed from nearby overcrowded informal settlements said they were “tired of the hypocrisy by municipalities that give precedence to people who only applied recently”.
Earlier this year Bernadus Swartbooi, the Deputy Minister of Land Reform, criticised politicians who exploit other Namibians by buying large plots of land on which they build flats.
Swartbooi, who was still serving as the governor of the //Karas Region at the time, said some politicians have disgracefully used the loopholes in the system to get access to huge tracts of land through which they exploit fellow Namibians by renting out houses and flats that they build on the property.
“They can call it business but I don’t care. We don’t need flats, we have sufficient land to build decent houses,” he said.
The secretary of the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL), Elijah Ngurare, last week called on the government, especially the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, to work with all local authorities to respond practically to the land need.
He urged that the allocation of land should be done with respect and decency.
According to him, it is the duty and obligation of the elected government to respond favourably in the interest of the people and in the interest of the nation.
Kazapua’s remarks come hot on the heels of a special caucus by the Cabinet Committee of Land and Related Matters, which resolved to amend more than ten laws to make land ownership easier.
One such law is the Local Authorities Act of 1992, which will be amended to regulate the sale of urban land to private developers.



Namibian Sun