1 February 2013

Namibia: City Ready to Tackle Land Shortage

Windhoek — Windhoek's newly elected mayor, Agnes Kafula, promised to address the shortage of serviced land and mitigate the soaring prices of properties in Windhoek, during the first council meeting of the year this week Wednesday.

Kafula said the availability of serviced land, especially for housing and commercial development, appears to be a "rather insurmountable" challenge the city has been facing for the past few years.

She nevertheless appealed for "patience, order and cooperation" from residents while the problem is being addressed. However, illegal land grabbing, she said, would never be tolerated.

The N$310 million from the Treasury through the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG) has already been earmarked to service land in the low-cost area of Otjomuise Extension 10. The servicing of the 1 192 single residential erven, five business and three institutional plots would soon be completed, Kafula reported.

Okahandja Park and Ongulumbashe will also be serviced this year, she said. "After servicing, qualifying applicants whose names are already on the waiting list will be allocated plots to build formal houses," the mayor said at the first monthly City Council meeting for the year this week.

The city has also entered into a joint venture agreement with a private company for the servicing of the land in Otjomuise Extension 4 and Academia Extension 1. It is expected that work at Otjomuise Extension 4 will be completed by March 2013, while work at Academia will start immediately thereafter. In Academia, altogether 500 erven will be created.

This is a pilot project and if found workable, similar projects will be rolled out in other areas of the capital. Kafula believes these new approaches will put the council in a position to address the shortage of serviced land and eventually mitigate the soaring prices of property in the city.

"While these efforts are being pursued, we appeal for patience, order and cooperation from our residents to continue refraining from illegal land grabbing, as this will never be tolerated," Kafula said.

The council had allocated a number of plots to five companies to set up affordable demo houses. Three of the demo houses are already standing and are being evaluated. The Chief Executive Officer of the City of Windhoek is expected to submit a report on the progress of the project during the next council meeting on February 27, 2013.

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