City of Windhoek will not tolerate land grabbing

WINDHOEK: Despite housing shortage in town, the City of Windhoek will not encourage or tolerate land grabbing.

“There are procedures to follow to acquire land in the city,” said Mayor of Windhoek Muesee Kazapua Saturday while officially launching the first round of the city’s public meetings.

The launch took place in the Hakahana residential area.

“The issue of land for housing has become a sensitive topical national issue. It is important to appreciate and understand that the issue is not about the availability of land itself, but it is about the unavailability of land that is serviced, in terms of connection to water, electricity and sewer networks to make it fit for sale and subsequent development,” he explained to hundreds of community members who turned up in big numbers.

He said the council is aware and mindful of the current lack of housing situation in the city.

However, he said the un-procedural occupation of municipal land creates yet another barrier to land delivery.

“This is because the land which Council earmarks for servicing, is un-procedurally occupied,” he said.

Of recent, the City of Windhoek (CoW) has been faced with illegal settlers everywhere in the periphery of the town, where people start erecting structures.

Last week, some people illegally squatted on Erf R/4008, Kitchener Street in Otjomuise.

The affected land is zoned as ‘public open space’ and is of about 1.47 hectare in extent where a total of 18 illegal squatters, who attempted to settle on the land, were removed.

Windhoek City Police’s Senior Superintendent, Gerry Shikesho was quoted as saying that there are number of high-ranking officials and businesspeople in the city organising students and unemployed people to grab land on their behalf.

During the community meeting on Saturday, Kazapua called upon the city’s residents to join hands with Council in creating lasting solutions for the housing shortage, other than worsening the problem through land grabbing.

He said, despite the rather insurmountable serviced land shortage, the CoW has committed more than 1000 residential plots to be available for development this year in Khomasdal extension 16, Otjomuise extension 4, and Academia extension 1 Phase II.

He said planning and design of Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG) land delivery Phase II for Havana and Ongulumbashe residential areas has been finalised and Council will soon engage the government to make funds available and enable the CoW to roll out these projects.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba launched the N.dollars 45 billion mass housing programme in November 2013 to ease the housing backlog in the country, targeting low-income earners such as residents of informal settlements.

The intention is to afford all Namibians with an opportunity to access an affordable shelter to call home.