Katima Mulilo to sell idle urban erven

KATIMA MULILO: The Katima Mulilo Town Council has started engaging with owners of plots that have been left undeveloped for a number of years.

Such plots have, as a result, subsequently incurred large amounts of municipal debts.

This was confirmed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Charles Nawa, who told Nampa on Monday that the council has started perusing the list of undeveloped plots acquired between 1996 and 2010, after which it will tackle the list of plots lying idle on serviced land.

The decision to engage plot owners follows council warnings that about 75 residential and business plots would be repossessed by the end of April 2015 if permanent structures were not put up.

“According to our legal advisers we had to give these plot owners a three-month period so they could settle the municipal rates and taxes accumulated on the premises. Should they have failed to do so, we will publish that we are now going to auction their plots.

“We want to deal with the long list first. It is quite a lot of names to work through, as you can imagine the debt accrued on a plot obtained in 1996 and up until now, no one has built on it,” Nawa said.

He explained that the council will auction plots based on the outstanding debt accrued, but these plots will first have to be discussed and decided upon through a council resolution.

The green light to sell them will however first be sought from the line ministry.

Nawa added the council is within its mandate to demand for plots to be developed as Katima Mulilo is facing a housing backlog, with many applicants placed on a long waiting list to purchase land to build on.

“The council has thousands of land applications but we have a limited few to sell. This is why we are also urging current undeveloped plot owners to look into entering into sale with private individuals.

“These plot owners can sell their pieces of land for any amount but it should be enough to settle the debt accumulated on it. It is only after that the plot will be transferred to the new owner,” he said.

In March, this news agency carried a report in which Nawa warned that undeveloped erven has led to the town looking like a “large bush”, making it difficult for council to turn the situation around.

He accused some top Government officials, ministries and departments, including the Ministry of Works and Transport, of being the biggest culprits in not developing their erven.