Law on rent control outdated

19 Feb 2017 11:40am
WINDHOEK, 18 FEB (NAMPA)- Government on Friday announced putting on hold the establishment of the Rent Control Board because the appointment of an executive committee is inappropriate for an independent Namibia.
Government intends repealing an old law (ordinance) with a new legislation to be known as the Rent Act.
Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya at a media conference on Friday said implementing Ordinance No.13 of 1977 in its current form is challenging.
Section 2 of the Ordinance refers to an executive committee under an administrator but the appointment of and exercise of authority over that administrator makes its implementation tricky.
Tweya said the President of Namibia must in terms of the Assignment of Powers Act, 1990 (Act 4 of 1990) assign the functions of the Ordinance to a minister and should the status quo remain, five members of Cabinet will make any decision that has to be taken regarding the administrative function of the Ordinance.
This would have the Rent Control Board’s executive committee report to Cabinet.
Tweya said it made sense before independence for an executive committee to preside over matters regarding the Ordinance due to the control, divide and rule policy of the apartheid regime, but in an independent Namibia, there are systems and processes in place equally capable of administering and implementing the Ordinance.
“Thus Section 2 has to be amended to vest the executive power to establish rent boards in an existing and legally recognised functionary of the executive arm of the State.”
Section 3 refers to the committee comprising a local magistrate and four other members but does not specify their expertise.
“This section thus calls for an amendment,” said Tweya.
Nominations for persons to serve as members and secretaries to the rent board were received from various entities such as local authorities, the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia, the National Youth Council and Affirmative Repositioning.
Tweya said Government intends to achieve fairness through the draft Rent Bill under constitutional scrutiny at the Office of the Attorney-General.
Tweya explained the document aims to consolidate and amend the law relating to the regulation of rent and eviction of lessees and occupiers of residential dwellings.
It will also prevent the exploitation of lessees by the lessors due to the high demand and limited supply of housing in Namibia.