Urban dwellers at mercy of town councils: NCCI

08 Oct 2013 04:30am
WINDHOEK, 08 OCT (NAMPA) – The Chief Executive Officer of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Tarah Shaanika has called on the Namibian Government to look at land allocations to citizens in a holistic way.
Shaanika was speaking during a media briefing in Windhoek on Monday on the upcoming Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SME) conference, set to take place in Rundu later this week.
“The government’s land allocation programme is more focused towards allocating and resettling people, mostly those who are farmers on farms, and leaves the urban dwellers at the mercy of town authorities’ exhorbitant land and housing prices,” he charged.
Government should also start working on how people who are not farmers and prefer to have property or land in towns could be accommodated in the land allocation process, which is vital for their survival and that of their offspring.
According to Shaanika, most Namibians cannot afford land or buy houses in any town in Namibia due to the high prices of houses and land, which are dictated by town authorities as a means to make money.
Through their traditional leaders and the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, Namibian communities in rural areas are given plots of land from between one hectare to 20 hectares, which they register as their own property under the Communal Land Act.
This legislation also allows them to own that land, and transfer it to their children or families if they die, as well as from generation to generation.
The registration of land in rural areas is done for free, compared to towns, where a lot of money has to be paid to acquire land per square metre.
“The top-cream land of Namibia in different towns is currently in the hands of foreign nationals who have money to buy land, and a few Namibians who make up about five per cent of those who can afford houses,” noted Shaanika.
He stressed that Namibian citizens have become tenants of foreign landlords who buy land, develop it and rent this out for business and/or residential purposes.
If the Government of Namibia does not wake up and start controlling how much land foreigners are allowed to buy in this country, a big chunk of Namibia would be left in the hands of foreigners, he added, citing the Helao Nafidi town in the Ohangwena Region as a town which is owned 60 per cent by foreign nationals.
The NCCI chief added that the government should also not wait for another revolution which would bring back the land into the hands of Namibians, but should start working towards mechanisms which would ensure that Namibians are given land, and foreigners allocated land on a leasehold basis.