Clifton Movirongo

Affirmative Repositioning Movement (AR) leader Job Amupanda, who advocates for the establishment of rent control in the country amid concerns about high home rental costs, says government has no plans to implement the proposal, five years after officials agreed to it.

Amupanda told the Windhoek Observer that he is still pushing for the implementation of a viable Rent Control Board with the authority to reduce rental rates. The youthful leader complained that no action has yet been taken by government.

“Of course, they never wanted to implement rent control regulations in the first place and that is not a surprise to us. Our biggest lesson is that, we’ve realised that we can no longer trust the government and hope that they are going to somehow start working for the benefit of the people. We decided that the only way to implement some of these things is when we take over institutions,” he said.

He further said that lack of action by government to implement a rent ordinance is a “delaying tactic” because it is not in their plans to do so.

Amupanda claims that AR has a strategy in place, on what the movement is going to do regarding a rent ordinance in January 2021.

“The government has taken a decision that they are not going to implement the regulations needed to control high rental costs. The zig-zagging, it’s just for them to get some breathing space,” he said.

In 2018, Amupanda took the government to court, with an accusation that government is slow in the establishment of a rent control board, although government sought an out of court settlement, that time.

He further added that the AR movement managed to push the issue of rent control when they were just activists. “We are confident now that from the Chambers of the City of Windhoek, we would be able to implement some of those legislations. Once it’s successfully implemented in Windhoek, it is going to force them and leave them with no option, by then we would be able to mobilise a rally countrywide. We need to demonstrate that it’s functioning effectively, so it is just a hide and seek that the government is playing at the moment,” said Amupanda.

The government has yet to operationalise the Rent Control Board Act since its establishment five years ago. It is aimed at regulating the rental market, with a view to prevent the exploitation of the tenants by landlords in accordance with the Rents Ordinance No.13 of 1977.

The Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT) has the remit for the establishment of any form of rent control, as they are yet to transfer the duties to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD).

This comes as revelations that the process of transitioning the pending rent control board regulations from the MIT to the MURD was envisaged to be concluded by the last week of September, 2020.

However, when quizzed on when the new date of the handover will happen, industrialization and trade minister Lucia Iipumbu said, “The handover process from the MIT to the MURD is set for next week. The exact date for the handover is 26 October, at at the main office of MURD.”