The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) is accusing the City of Windhoek councillors of not prioritising land delivery in the city despite a high demand and limited supply of houses in the capital.
LPM Councillor, Sade Shireen Gawanas, said although the City was currently sitting on thousands of square kilometres of land, which could be used to address the capital’s ballooning housing waiting list, nothing was being done.
“Sitting in this council for the past two months, we have noticed that some issues and agendas are being pushed while there is no proper studies, investigations done. The total town area of Windhoek was expanded to a sizeable 5,142 square kilometres from 654 km2, but there seems to be no speedy relief in sight for housing shortage for its growing population of close to 400,000,” Gawanas said.
“We support the general pessimistic perception that the process of acquiring, servicing and formalising urban land is a lengthy, cumbersome and costly undertaking and unsuitable for meeting the current needs. There is a near absence of a comprehensive, practical and realistic vision for Namibia’s housing sector that must be addressed.”
She said no one was holding City developers to account for failing to provide affordable residential properties, which is conditional when they are allocated land for development in Windhoek.
“We want to reaffirm our stance on the land question, and transparency in the process. We want to allocate land not only to benefit a few or only a certain group, but to look at each income group, focusing on ultra-low-, low- and middle-income groups. A reputable research institution has recommended that before private developers get approval to build houses, they should be mandated to reserve 20 percent of their housing development budget towards providing affordable housing so that higher-income housing development could cross-subsidise housing for the lower-income segments. But city developers seem not to adhere to key lessons to make housing affordable in Windhoek and elsewhere,” Gawanas said.
Land grabs in the City’s Otjomuise suburbs, with residents registering their frustrations over council’s delays in availing land for residential purposes as promised during the run-up to local elections has become a regular occurrence.