WALVIS BAY – Local authorities and regional councils will no longer have to wait for years to have new townships approved
as government has replaced the Namibia Planning Advisory Board (Nampab) and the Township Board with the Urban and Regional Planning Act.
The two bodies have been labelled as a key challenge by local authorities in the establishment of new townships as they, in some
instance, have to wait up to three years to get approval from them. Nampab is a board of members, appointed by the line ministry to advise the minister on the establishment of townships, oversees urban and regional planning and also supervises local and regional authorities
with regard to planning, while the township board gives approval after the process is completed.
Deputy minister of urban and rural development Derek Klazen yesterday said the two boards was finally replaced by the new Urban
and Rural Planning Act. Klazen, who was addressing shack dwellers in Kuisebmond yesterday, said the Act under which the two boards fall are outdated and does not speak to the current needs and demands of local authorities and regional councils.
“Government a few years back decided to replace them with the Urban and Regional planning Act. This Act was already promulgated
two years ago, only the regulations was outstanding,” he explained. He added the regulations were gazetted last month and that the
full Act will be in force in due course.
This, according to Klazen, means certain decisions related to the proclamation of new townships can now be done faster. “The outcry was that Nampab and the Township Board takes too long to proclaim new townships. As a result, local authorities struggled to meet the housing and land demands of their residents. People were waiting up to three years to have this done because of the process that had to be
followed; hence, government replaced it with the new Act,” Klazen said.
He then explained that with the new Act local authorities that qualify to be an authorising local authority and have regional and local town planners in place can take certain decisions as the new Act decentralises many functions.
“What local authorities need to do now is to get their structural plan approved by the national planning board, as this gives them automatic powers to rezone do sub-divisions, hence, making the proclamation of new townships faster,” he said.