The provision of housing is key to addressing the dire need for social justice

Martin Endjala

Utaara Mootu, a Member of Parliament from the Landless People’s Movement, emphasized the urgent need to reshape housing provision to further social justice, as stipulated in the Namibian Constitution and international conventions.

Mootu made these comments in Parliament earlier this week while presenting a motion aimed at addressing the country’s housing shortage and identifying suitable delivery solutions.

She highlighted the importance of housing, describing it as a cornerstone of societal welfare and a fundamental aspect influencing multiple areas of human life.

“Beyond merely providing shelter, housing plays a pivotal role in influencing physical and mental health, ensuring economic stability, fostering social unity, and driving community development. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, established by the United Nations in 1948, underlines the right to housing as a core human right,” Mootu explained.

She referenced Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which asserts, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for their health and well-being, which includes housing.”

Mootu also touched on the housing market’s current economics. She highlighted a discrepancy between housing demand and supply, leading to surging prices. According to her, commercial banks, which currently cater to only 30 percent of the population, dominate this market.

She remarked, “In the financial sector, banks tend to rely on 30 percent of monthly income for loan repayments. Their policies tend to prioritize individuals in formal employment, effectively sidelining a significant portion of our youth – 46.10 percent of whom are either unemployed or earning low wages.”

Mootu argued that for today’s young population, owning a home has become an increasingly distant dream, costing them 13 times more than what their parents might have paid for a similar property.

She identified limited access to mortgages, especially those with exorbitant interest rates for first-time buyers, as a significant contributor to the country’s housing shortage. Mootu also highlighted the role of land scarcity, exacerbated by the slow pace of land approval processes and the shortage of serviced land.

Another concern she raised was the lack of synergy between different housing entities. Mootu suggested that the Local Authority should streamline the beneficiary lists, with inputs from the Namibia Housing Enterprise, to avoid duplication.

She concluded by proposing alternative housing financing solutions, such as more expensive micro-financing options with higher interest rates.

“Financial institutions need to actively partner with the government, innovating and broadening their clientele, ensuring even the underserved communities aren’t left behind,” she advocated.

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