WINDHOEK – With demand for housing sticking out like a sore thumb for many local authorities, the City of Windhoek hopes to find practical solutions to the burning issue of land delivery within the shortest possible time.
To this end, councillors and staff of the City of Windhoek this week held a two-day workshop, ‘State of land delivery in the City of Windhoek’, convened specifically to discuss the acute shortage of serviced land and provision of housing.
Speaking at the occasion, Windhoek Mayor Muesee Kazapua said that the shortage of serviced land has always been a primary concern to the city council with the most profound housing constraint being the mismatch between supply and demand.
“Addressing this persistent imbalance will not only unleash the full potential of the housing market and its contribution to the economy, but will also address the social aspects related to sustainable and affordable housing,” he said.
Kazapua added that the unprecedented increase in house prices continues to reduce the majority of the population’s ability to access affordable housing, as they are not supported by any economic fundamentals such as the increase in household incomes.
“The shortage of serviced land and the cost involved in servicing the land is prohibitively high,” he said, adding that the process in allocation of land was also cumbersome.
The mayor said that inadequate finance and bureaucracy in the land delivery process have brought about this state of affairs.
Another thing, he said, that also contributes to the shortage of land, is rapid urbanisation and mushrooming of informal settlements, while the population growth also has an adverse effect.
“It is for these reasons that for the past few years the city has not been able to cope with the demand for residential plots, particularly in the low-income categories,” remarked Kazapua.
He said that the local authority legislation Act 23 needed reassessment and a revisit to adapt to the prevailing operational environment.
“Similarly, there is an urgent need for the central government to significantly boost financial support to local authorities across the country to enhance their capacities to service land,” he continued to say.
The workshop is to review the city’s systems and operations, looking at existing policies, methods of land sale and finding medium term solutions and to look at ways of improving administrative processes.
Further to that, workshop participants would also look at the city’s various land delivery initiatives, such as township development programmes, public private partnerships and the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG).