Land Policy for Politicians ‘Naïve’ – Namoloh

Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Charles Namoloh says the mooted idea by the Windhoek City Council to draft a policy favouring politicians in acquiring land is naiumlve.

As such, government will not approve such a plan, the former defence minister said.

“This will never happen, no one can be so naiumlve to allow a situation like that,” Namoloh said.

City mayor Agnes Kafula confirmed in February last year that the council was working on a policy aimed at ensuring that “national leaders” have access to land, “just like any other citizen”.

Her remarks came days after reports emerged that the municipality sold a prime piece of land worth N$1 million for N$340 000 to Veterans Affairs Deputy Minister Hilma Nikanor.

Namoloh yesterday said the draft of the proposed policy did not reach his office.

“If they [Windhoek City Council] had such plans then they never brought it to the ministry’s attention,” he said.

The minister yesterday said an overhaul of municipal land laws can be expected next year, aimed at arresting escalating land prices.

Namibia is ranked second in the world, after Dubai, among countries with the highest prices for housing.

Municipal land laws around the country have been identified as one of the factors that have created an upward spiral when it comes to land prices, a situation that has left thousands of potential land owners red faced because of their financial inability to afford land on which to build their houses.

“I am not happy with the high prices of land, therefore we are working on amending municipal laws on land,” said Namoloh.

Namoloh said government is not happy with land prices, hence a cabinet moratorium last year on auctioning of public land.

“Land is so expensive that only the rich can buy land while the poor get nothing,” he said.

An aocacy group calling for a reduction in the price of land and housing arranged a meeting last night at the Bank Windhoek Theatre School.

The youthful group, calling itself Bring Down the House, in its plan of action calls on government to subsidise the Windhoek Municipality and demands transparency and accountability.

The group also wants financial institutions to be given the green light to finance the servicing of land and called for the supply of more land so that land prices can be reduced.

The concerned group also wants government to cap how much land an individual may own as well as different taxes on land purchases between foreigners and locals.

In its plan of action, the group has outlined a number of pointers which it sees fit to arrest the situation such as changing the legal framework to make the development of land faster, and consideration of the privatisation of the servicing of land.

It also requests for constitutional amendments regarding land as well as the implementation of mass housing on a two-tier system for destitute people and for low- to middle-income people.

Source : New Era