With the land and housing-related matters three-day workshop underway in the capital, City of Windhoek Swapo councillors promised to drive the discussion on reasons some critical council policies and resolutions on land and housing-related matters are not implemented.
Following recent land grabs in the capital, the municipal council of Windhoek, at its meeting held on 5 August 2021, resolved a workshop be held from 30 August to 3 September 2021. The workshop aims to discuss the root causes of the problem of access to land and housing in Windhoek and to come up with practical solutions.
In an interview, former City of Windhoek mayor and Swapo councillor Fransina Kahungu yesterday emphasised the land and housing-related matters workshop has been held over the years but it lacks implementation.
“The last one we held was in 2015 at Heja lodge. Council came up with resolutions on land and housing-related matters. What was lacking is implementation. It’s my wish that councillors and technocrats come up with practical solutions, which will really be implemented. Technocrats who should do the implementation will then do their part,” she said.
According to Development and Upgrading Policy under land allocation principles in upgrading areas, land reserved for residential purposes in informal settlement upgrading areas shall be allocated or pre-allocated to household head registered during the compulsory registration (socio-economic survey) of the area as part of the upgrading process.
According to Kahungu, councillors have done their parts to come up with the policy; however, the implementation part of the policy is with the technical people.
“Therefore, the robust discussion about the specific challenges on implementing the Local Authority Act, council policies and resolutions will have to take place. The Swapo party in Khomas region further mandated its representatives to seriously take part in the discussion in items such as review the unit prices of land in order to make housing accessible to most residents. And also pre-allocation of land to household heads registered during the socio-economic survey of the areas as part of upgrading process in the informal settlement,” she is hopeful.
The Municipality of Windhoek is one of the largest municipalities in the country and was mandated by the Local Authority Act 23 of 1992 to deliver land to the citizens. However, the municipality is not in the position of delivering adequate land to the needy citizens – not just land but ownership of land.
Therefore, Kahungu said, councillors representing Swapo in the municipal council of Windhoek in consultations with the Khomas party leadership looked at the possible issues to be discussed at the workshop. Among others is how funds from central government, in relation to land and housing, are being used. The other is the possibility of selling land to people who have been occupying land on a lease agreement basis.
“Also, City of Windhoek [should] finish with the process of handing out certificates of occupation of land, as this will make the process of distribution for land easier. Swapo councillors will also push implementation of the Flexible Land Tenure, as this will easily allow for land ownership to the people and the introduction of community participation in land and housing delivery activities.”
“Here, the purpose is to discuss ways to involve the residents in solving the problem of land and housing. We can already see that all those houses were built by people themselves – an indication that you already have ideas on how to solve the land and housing problems.”
“All that needs to be done is to formalise the cooperation between yourself and municipality.”
Further, she said, Swapo representatives and all councillors will discuss the need to review and revise outdated policies in relation to land and housing delivery. She also expressed hope that the workshop will discuss the debt swap of lending loans to the City of Windhoek against land transfer to the government from the municipal council of Windhoek.
“We will discuss the identification of new areas to relocate people from the areas which have too many people. Agriculture is the backbone of the economy. Therefore, it is our sincere hope that inclusion of urban agricultural land in the town planning scheme will form part of the discussion,” Kahungu stated.