WINDHOEK - Land activist Job Amupanda has taken his fight for rent control boards to another level by dragging the Minister of Trade and Industrialisation and government to court over failure to implement the regulations of the Rents Ordinance 13 of 1977, as amended.
This law has been in force since its promulgation and has neither been declared unconstitutional by a competent court nor has it been repealed by an Act of Parliament, Amupanda says in an affidavit he submitted to court.
According to Amupanda, one of the leaders of the Affirmative Repositioning Movement (AR), various meetings have been held with government, including President Hage Geingob, where promises were made but to date the minister of trade, who is the implementing agency for the establishment of the Rental Control Boards and its members, has done nothing about it.
According to the activist, despite various undertakings that Rent Control Boards would be established as “a matter of urgency” nothing has been done in this regard, more than two years after the first agreement was reached leaving the youth to the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who asks exorbitant rental fees. Thus, he said, should the minister not implement the Rent Control Board forthwith, he will ask the High Court of Namibia to direct the minister to issue a notice in the government gazette establishing rent control boards for the Khomas, Erongo, Kavango East and Oshana regions and appoint its members.
Should the minster fail to do so, Amupanda says, he will approach the court on or before October 26 this month to declare the minister’s refusal and/or failure unjustified, irrational ultra-vires and unlawful and his refusals and /or failure to appoint members of the boards ultra-vires and unlawful.
According to Amupanda, the reasons for his and his movement’s actions are that the issue of housing affordability and access to housing is affecting the majority of Namibians, especially the youth. “It is common cause that house prices in Namibia are amongst the most expensive and highest in the world,” he said and continued: The result of the high prices of immovable property is that it is difficult, if not impossible, for Namibian youth especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds to buy and acquire immovable property.
According to Amupanda, it was as a result of these difficulties that he and other leaders of the AR movement decided to engage the government which culminated in a meeting between himself, other leaders of AR and President Hage Geingob on July 24, 2015 where it was amongst other decisions decided to “furthermore, the meeting agreed to operationalise the Rent Control Boards as provided by the Rent Ordinance Act 13 of 1977, as a matter of urgency”.
He further said that many more communications followed between AR and the government and it was agreed that the Minister of Trade and Industrialisation was designated to administer the rent ordinance.
Following further communications between them and the government, Amupanda said, he received a letter from the minister requesting him as a matter of urgency to nominate members for the rent control boards which he did despite having only one day to do so. However, Amupanda says, from the date of August 12, 2016 when he was requested to provide nominations, an ominous silence and delay that ran contrary to the agreements reached at the various meetings as well as communication from the minister directed at its citizens ensued.
Despite the undertaking made by the minister, he dispatched a communication to AR on May 18 this year, informing them that the law would not be implemented which is a gross violation of the applicable and binding law.