AR withdraws from mass urban land servicing project

AR withdraws from mass urban land servicing project

Selma Ikela
Windhoek – The leaders of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) group, Job Amupanda, George Kambala and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma, will issue government with a notice of withdrawal from the mass urban land servicing programme (MULSP) it agreed to in July 2015.

Amupanda stated not only was there a failure to meet the targets and observe the urgency of the housing crisis, there is evidently no consequence for those who deliberately failed to implement the programme.

He said their letter would be addressed to Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and President Hage Geingob.

Amupunda said regarding the proposed servicing of about 2,000 hectares of residential land in Windhoek, nothing has materialised as yet and that almost two years after the MULSP agreement, the situation is unchanged.

“Nobody wants to do anything with Windhoek. Oshakati has 2,000 plots serviced, while Walvis Bay has over a 1,000 plots serviced. In Windhoek no one is taken to task,” he remarked.

Amupanda spoke during a press conference to addresse a number of issues, including rent control, the AR housing initiative for informal settlements and a number of special initiatives.

Approached for comment, Minister Shaningwa yesterday declined to comment.

Amupanda said since 2015 AR activists had dedicated time, energy and resources to the many meetings of the MULSP.

He said engineers, town planners, quantity surveyors, cartographers, environmental specialists and other professionals sat in on those meetings, offering their skills to their country at no cost.

He said although the MULSP targets contained in the Harambee Plan, – including the implementation and pre-allocation plans – are missed , “no single explanation is given”.

“It is now clear that these MULSP meetings are nothing but an attempt to contain AR in the slacking government bureaucracy,” he claimed.

In July 2015 government announced the plan to service 200,000 plots and identified three pilot towns where it would start with mass servicing of residential land. The pilot towns were Walvis Bay, Windhoek and Oshakati.

Government announced this after meeting with AR members, who had threatened to grab land illegally on July 31, 2015 if government did not allocate them plots by that date. AR subsequently withdrew the threat of illegal land grabs.

On the question of rent control, Amupanda said the matter has been on the national agenda for more than two years.

He said they wrote a letter yesterday to the minister of trade, copied to the prime minister, expressing their displeasure and notifying them that if AR does not see progress on the rent control board issue by February 19, they will conclude that government is unwilling to implement rent control boards.

Amupanda said they would then approach the courts to direct the government to adhere to the rule of law. It is not yet clear on what legal grounds the AR would enter court proceedings against the government, as the group is not formally constituted and has no elected structures or constitution, on the basis of which it can claim legal standing.

“The government kept zig-zagging from 2015 to date. It keeps giving lips service (sic) to the matter, instead of decisively implementing the provisions available in the rent ordinance. It has now been close to six months since we and other stakeholders submitted the names of the members to serve on rent control boards but until today nothing has happened,” he said.

Amupanda further remarked that they are not oblivious to the fact that many politicians are landlords, who profit from high rental prices or plan to build hundreds of flats.

Trade and Industrialisation Minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko told the reporter to call on Monday, or to contact the ministry’s permanent secretary, Gabriel Sinimbo, who said he was in the meeting and would call back, but had not yet replied by the time of going to print.

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