DTA calls for 90-day moratorium to solve land crisis

23 Jul 2015 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 23 JUL (NAMPA) - The DTA of Namibia has proposed that Government and the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement agree to lift the AR’s 31 July 2015 deadline and place a 90-day moratorium on any activity, legal or illegal, that relates to the acquisition of public urban land.
Speaking at a media conference here on Thursday, DTA President McHenry Venaani urged both parties to engage in open, public and consultative discussions on a range of issues related to the availability of urban land, and to commence with legislative and policy reform in this regard.
Further proposals by the DTA include that within 60 days of 31 July 2015, Cabinet should table an additional budget in respect of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) to allocate an amount of no less than N.dollars 3.7 billion for the servicing of urban land throughout the country, so as to ensure that serviced land is delivered in order to meet the needs of the Namibian people.
“Furthermore, that use of contingency funds should be made available for the servicing and allocation of urban land during the interim period,” Venaani said.
The AR, last November, gave the government until next Friday to allocate land to all landless Namibians, or else face a mass land grab.
Venaani also suggested that a national consultative committee, comprising representatives from Government, the AR movement, the Shack Dwellers’ Federation of Namibia and other key stakeholders be formed to supervise the allocation of urban land. This committee should be established immediately under the auspices of the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.
He added that within 30 days of 31 July 2015, Government, in consultation with the committee, should develop a national policy on urban land resettlement which will amongst others prioritise the allocation of available serviced land to residents of informal settlements; impose an indefinite moratorium on all land allocated as such.
A national database should also be developed to track and monitor the allocation of land to once-off beneficiaries.
The official opposition leader also suggested that a housing control board be established under the auspices of the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development to address property speculation as well as regulate residential rental agreements, and that such oversight agency shall exercise the authority of the respective minister in the discharge of its duties.
This housing board, he said, should within 30 days of 31 July 2015 develop a social housing policy aimed at improving access to property ownership for young graduate professionals and employed youth.
“The social housing policy will aim to achieve this by introducing a lowered and fixed interest rate on mortgages issued to first time buyers, and secondly, will investigate the Malaysian and Filipino models of social housing,” said Venaani.
He also called on President Hage Geingob to recall the National Assembly immediately to address, as a matter of urgency, all impending amendments to Apartheid-era legislation responsible for the bottlenecks in the process of proclaiming and registering land, land reform and/or the allocation thereof as identified by the joint Parliamentary and Cabinet Committee on land reform.