Moratorium on sale of Okahandja erven remains in place

29 Sep 2017 13:50pm
WINDHOEK, 29 SEP (NAMPA) – The moratorium on the sale of unserviced erven in Okahandja by government has not yet been lifted, Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa has said.
Responding to questions from Member of Parliament, Jennifer Van den Heever in the National Assembly on Thursday, Shaningwa said Government would only lift the ban once an audit has been done and findings and recommendations are finalised.
A moratorium was placed on the sale of unserviced land in August 2015 due to irregular land transactions by the town’s local authority.
Shaningwa said the ministry would be in a position to re-engineer and regulate the land transaction processes that are in the best interests of all local authorities, once the audit has been finalised.
“This will be done in the legal framework governing the operations of local authorities,” she said.
The minister explained that the moratorium serves as a control measure to ensure that administrative processes are correctly formed to normalise a situation that has caused public outcry.
It is also meant to restore Okahandja residents’ trust in the local authority.
Further responding to Van den Heever’s question on whether private citizens can buy unserviced land, Shaningwa said there is no classification of who is eligible for unserviced erven in the town.
She added that the ministry however did not recommend the sale of such land to individuals, especially for residential purposes as it poses socio-economic challenges that an individual might not be able to address.
The servicing of urban land for instance requires professional expertise such as engineering services, she said.
“Other reasons for not allowing the sale of unserviced erven to individuals is to avoid illegal connection of services like electricity and water and further face challenges of sanitation,” the minister said.
Shaningwa said property developers were favoured in this regard for unserviced land, taking into consideration the costs involved and expertise required.