City Mayor Unsure about Providing ‘Affordable Land’

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By Desie Heita

Windhoek

Re-elected Mayor of Windhoek Mathew Shikongo is confident that the city will be able to combat and reduce crime in his current term of office.

Yet, he is not sure about providing affordable land to all residents, wealthy and poor alike.

He is also not quite certain that the city would be able to meet the Millennium Development Goal requirements on providing access to safe drinking water by 2015, by having access to water within 75 meters of a walking distance of anywhere in Windhoek, as defined by the National Housing Policy.

“With continued growth and expansion the city is unable to meet this requirement and definition,” said Shikongo. The problem is with the city’s dependence on erratic rainfall pattern which makes water security a challenge. Nevertheless, the rainfall recorded this year has filled the dams and reservoirs and water supply is assured for the financial year 2008/09, said Shikongo.

Windhoek City Police is introducing sophisticated surveillance systems, including a computerized crime registration system, Ground Position System, computerized occurrence register, video cameras in strategic places all over Windhoek and a crime mapping and analysis system.

“With the introduction of a crime prevention surveillance system, common in most parts of the world, the council is convinced that crime will drop significantly,” said Shikongo.

Keeping the City Fathers awake at night, however, is delivery of affordable land for all residents, wealthy and poor alike.

The municipality spent more than N$40 million on land servicing in townships during the previous financial year 2007/08, availing more than 500 erven to residents in various parts of the town.

The erven were made available and sold in Cimbebasia, Rocky Crest, Prosperita, Katutura, and Kleine Kuppe.

But the geographical nature of the town, being mountainous, combined with the rapid growth in the population is making land availability a challenge.
The other problem is the city’s policy of auctioning erven, a process that is supposed to give a chance to low-income people to acquire land at a reasonable price. And yet, it yielded mixed results.

Complaints have been made about those with money gobbling up land at auctions through proxies.

Shikongo said the procedures and conditions of the auction were put under review and the municipality will continue to review the policy so that it suits market requirements and makes land accessible to all.

This has prompted the municipality to make 78 amendments to land use rights, ranging from increased residential densities with additional housing units to new business office buildings.

Further, the city has redrafted its framework on private investment to create a balance between permissible development and the public interest.

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