Landless Namibians flocking to communal areas for plots

18 Jul 2016 14:50pm
By Faith Sankwasa
KATIMA MULILO, 18 JUL (NAMPA) – Landless residents of the Zambezi Region are rushing to communal areas to occupy plots for residential and business purposes.
An investigation by Nampa established that communal areas located within the outskirts of Katima Mulilo or just after the town boundary lines, has of late seen an influx of people and companies flocking to the traditional courts, known as Khuta, to apply for plots and land.
A visit to Mafuta village settlement, located less than 20 kilometres from Katima Mulilo, reveals that hundreds of low to middle income earners are visiting the settlement Khuta to apply for land to build houses and erect other structures on un-serviced land.
Many permanent brick structures are being put up, including shops, guesthouses, bars and clubs. A poultry project, feeding centre, small-scale horticulture projects and brick making initiatives are some of the businesses recently set up at the settlement.
Speaking to Nampa on Monday at the Mafuta Khuta, Senior Headman John Mahara said the demand and rush to get plots at Mafuta was created by people finding it hard to purchase or lease land within the town boundaries.
Mahara said the Khuta is now experiencing pressure to allocate the plots or land in a hasty manner.
According to him, Khuta has approved more than 300 residential plots measuring 20 by 30 square meters between 2014 and 2015.
Over 100 applications are still awaiting approval to be allocated a piece of land, where electricity and sewerage systems are at the cost of the occupant.
“The demand for plots is there and it is visible by the number of applications being approved and those awaiting to be approved. We are not strict on how we allocate the plots or who qualifies. We are just strict that residential plot measurements apply to everyone,” Mahara said.
He also told Nampa that the Khuta is not strict on what type of structures should be put up on the plot, while the Khuta charges a services fee of N.dollars 1 355 for the plot to be registered in its books.
This fee is used to enable the headmen to go out and survey the areas where applicants are to be allocated plots for houses or businesses.
“We are not selling land. The Khuta has a law that stipulates that an applicant has to pay a fee. The money enables the Khuta to keep functioning and doing works such as allocating plots and land for businesses or projects. Mafuta should be seen as a place were the poor and landless can be accommodated,” said Mahara.
The Mafuta Khuta is represented by six headmen from the different traditional authorities in Zambezi Region. Each headman ensures that residents are treated fairly and equally, regardless of tribal origin.