Land grabbing is politicised: Katima CEO

21 Oct 2017 16:00pm
SWAKOPMUND, 21 OCT (NAMPA) – There should be clear laws on how land grabbing should be dealt with because the issue is currently politicised, Katima Mulilo Town Council Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Raphael Liswaniso has alleged.
The Katima Mulilo Town Council demolished structures erected illegally on town land at the beginning of this month.
Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa intervened after a public outcry and halted the demolitions which left many homeless, saying the council did not obtain a court order to demolish the structures and thus acted illegally.
She however also said people were engaged but were not cooperative, hence the decision to demolish illegal structures was taken as the last resort to restore law and order.
Speaking at the first joint meeting of the Association of Local Authorities in Swakopmund on Friday, Liswaniso said it is not clear how councils should deal with land grabbing, alleging that politics make it difficult for the local authority to enforce laws.
“Let us take a resolution on how to deal with the issue of illegal land grabbing. If not we will not be able to take local authorities where we want to,” he said
Liswaniso said if such actions continue, then there will be no development.
“We will remain villages forever.”
Supporting him were Windhoek Mayor Muesee Kazapua and Chief Executive Officer of the Nkurenkuru Town Council, Sindimba Petrus Sikongo.
Kazapua said despite political interference, local authorities must sensitise people not to grab land.
He encouraged good relationships between the council administrators and politicians for problems to be resolved amicably.
Sikongo said there should be a uniform way of dealing with land grabbers, saying some councils get away with demolitions and others are stopped. He did not specify which councils he was referring to.
“It is a serious problem that we need to deal with urgently. People bring mahangu fields onto municipal land and we cannot do anything about it.”
The meeting decided to add the land grabbing issue to the resolutions taken, so that the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development can consider it.
Local Authority leaders from across Namibia and some neighbouring countries such as Zambia, South Africa, Malawi and Angola during the meeting deliberated on the best ways to improve the councils’ operations and service delivery from Monday to Friday.