Land grabbing a sign of desperation: DTA

06 May 2016 18:30pm
WINDHOEK, 06 MAY (NAMPA) – The sporadic instances of land-grabbing witnessed in Namibia since 2013 are a sign of desperation, says DTA of Namibia Chairperson Jennifer van den Heever.
In a media statement issued Wednesday, Van den Heever said her party believes that the latest incident in Rehoboth, where members of the public congregated peacefully but were met by excessive police reaction, is symptomatic of the issues that underline governance and service delivery in Namibia.
She was referring to a land-grabbing incident in Rehoboth on Monday, when about 300 community members gathered at Kuvukiland settlement to demand land. This protest turned violent when members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) dispersed the crowd with rubber bullets.
Van den Heever said the DTA does not agree with or condone illegal land-grabbing, but acknowledged that unaffordable property prices, an overwhelming shortage of serviced land and favouritism in the allocation and sale of land by local authorities throughout Namibia have created a situation where ordinary Namibians simply cannot gain access to land or housing through recognised and official means.
The Member of Parliament (MP) claimed local authorities across Namibia have manipulated access to land for political purposes, awarding land to the country’s political elite and those connected to it, often at massively discounted prices and through dubious and/or non-transparent procedures, while others are forced to pay market-related prices.
“The allocation and sale of large pieces of land to property developers while land is simply not made available to individuals, has served only to exacerbate the situation, as these property developers are motivated solely by profit maximisation.”
She said this also serves as a massive indictment of the failure of the ruling party at local and national level to deliver serviced land at an efficient rate.
The DTA of Namibia also reaffirmed that while land-grabbing is illegal, it is nevertheless legitimate given the circumstances.
Van den Heever explained a system that excludes the majority of Namibians living in cities and towns from gaining access to land and/or housing through discrimination, favouritism, nepotism and inefficiency will inevitably produce, as a consequence, situations where people resort to illegal measures in order to obtain land.