• April 2nd, 2020

Land ownership dispels growth in settlements

OMUTHIYA - Individuals have been finding it difficult to own land in proclaimed settlement areas as the land still belongs to the government through regional councils under the current laws.

The law indicates that an individual can only lease land in a settlement area, and may not legally or be entitled to own it. 

Having no land tenure deprives an individual from accessing finance, such as from banks, as there is no guarantee that they are the rightful custodian, as per requirement to be rendered such assistance by financial lending institutions. 

“True, it’s a big challenge for many. Unfortunately as regional council we cannot change the status quo as we are following what is stipulated in law. Unless the law is amended to allow for sale of land and offer deeds of sale, then we cannot start doing so,” stressed Oshikoto chief regional officer Frans Enkali in an interview.

Enkali hinted that lack of land ownership is one of the factors that is leading to slow growth of settlements compared to towns,. 

“People are sceptical to settle in settlements as they can’t own the land, as opposed to when they are in a town,” he added.  In the absence of a deed of sale, banks do not offer such assistance as they do not have a security on how they can recoup their funds in case the borrower is unable to repay the bond.  

In the end this has an adverse effect on individuals, and in some instances families end up becoming homeless in an event the lessee dies and none of them is able to continue paying the lease amount. 
Since council does not generate much income as it does not sell land, some regional councils have previously complained that they are unable to fast-track development and servicing of land in settlements due to financial constraints as they only depend on government funds. Therefore, they argue that if they could be selling land it would boost their income levels. 

In addition to this, Enkali, said council is facing an uphill battle when it comes to compensation as a result of disputes among family members on who should receive the payments.  “This does not only prolong but stalls planned developmental activities. There is no way you can start while people are still occupying the land,” he said.

Oshikoto has two proclaimed settlements, namely Oshivelo and Onayena, while Onyuulaye is next in line for proclamation. 

“As a result we have a budget of N$7 million under this financial year to construct services in Onayena and Oshivelo, such as roads, electrification, water and sewerage reticulation. This is part of our continuing capital projects,” said Enkali when highlighting some of the capital projects planned for this financial year. He also said that with the moratorium on office construction in effect they are unable to execute any projects until it’s lifted or unless directed otherwise. 

Oshikoto received a budget of N$63 million for the 2019/20 financial year.

Staff Reporter
2019-06-05 09:11:48 | 9 months ago

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