New Era (Windhoek)

4 July 2012

Namibia: Oshikuku Land Auction Riles Residents

Windhoek — The Oshikuku Town Council is the latest town council to be accused of marginalising its residents through the auctioning of residential plots.

Angry residents complain that the auctioning and tendering process of residential plots at the town is not transparent and favours those who are already well to do.

Oshikuku has so far held two different auctions or open tenders for the sale of residential even at the town.

Displeased residents said most of the plots went to property developers, who are now charging desperate homebuyers astronomical prices for plots and building plans.

The last sale of land took place between March and April, but by June many of the potential buyers who submitted offers had not yet received responses from the town council.

Chief Executive Officer of the Town Council Julia Kakwambi failed to respond to detailed questions sent to her three weeks ago.

Residents want to know why the town is not heeding calls by politicians to sell residential even through sale of treaty as opposed to tendering and auctioning.

"How do we know that the winning tenderer gave the highest offer, if the town council does not open the offers in public?" asked one resident.

Others question the reason behind the auctioning and tendering process for a town that has a population of only about 2 600 people. They suggest that the town council should rather compile a list of names of residents willing to acquire residential plots and to sell the plots in a transparent manner to them instead of auctioning the land off to wealthy property developers.

One resident said she has been participating in the process for the past few years with no success. "The answer is always the same - that my offer was too low," she said.

The private treaty process gives preference to first-time homeowners, considering the affordability of the property on sale.

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