SWAKOPMUND – Urban and Rural Development minister Erastus Utoni has called on the Erongo Regional Council to reassess the prices of erven at Wlotzkasbaken, and ensure that they are affordable for all Namibians.
He made this appeal on Friday during the inauguration of the settlement office of Wlotzkasbaken, located outside Swakopmund.
Addressing the issue of unaffordable land, the minister highlighted the plight of many young people who struggle to own homes and land due to excessive costs.
Earlier this year, the Erongo Regional Council auctioned erven at Wlotzkasbaken, with prices ranging between N$350 000 and N$500 000. Only 20 of those plots were bought.
Wlotzkasbaken was founded as a holiday angling spot in the 1930s, and developed into a settlement. It is situated between Henties Bay and Swakopmund.
The plots initially were only leased to residents. However, legal disputes which followed a few years ago on how to expand the resort without disadvantaging lessees who built houses on the land they do not own, resulted in the regional council selling leasing homeowners’ properties to them at market-related land value – making them owners currently.
Utoni emphasised that the primary goal of making land accessible is to promote transformation, and improve the lives of Namibians overall.
The settlement has since its establishment witnessed significant growth, especially since the government assumed responsibility shortly after independence.
“However, it is essential to assist our communities, particularly the younger generation, who often find it challenging to secure accommodation. We understand that the erven are close to the beach, but we must find a way to accommodate all without compromising on our service delivery,” Uutoni emphasised.
The Erongo Regional Council’s chairperson Benitha Imbamba said in response to the minister’s request for affordable plots that they have already sold 20 plots out of 145 through a closed bid process.
They initially had 145 plots, but opted to only sell 20 to assess the success of the sale with the aim to accommodate all Namibians.
Imbamba said the council is not bound to the current pricing of N$350 000 to N$500 000 as they are committed to exploring ways to make land more affordable, particularly for middle-income Namibians. She also underlined the importance of not making land overly expensive, as it should be a source of continuous revenue through taxes and rates.
“The plan is to release the plots in portions to ensure equitable access and housing opportunities for Namibians,” she continued.